Istanbul is among one of the fastest growing cities in the world with an estimated population of more than 12 million inhabitants. Air pollution has emerged as an issue of concern because of immigration, rapid growth of population, industrialization, poor quality fuels, and traffic emissions. The need to identify the factors associated with air pollution in the city of Istanbul using geographical information system (GIS) that is based on a decision support system is imperative to understand the contributions of such factors towards pollution in one of the most important cities in Europe (Elbir, et al., 2010). Air quality is mapped out using geographical information system (GIS).
Significance of Research
Similar cities in the developed world are experiencing problems with air pollution and quality necessitating the need for constant monitoring of air quality as a basis for developing appropriate solutions for air pollution. In addition, the astounding levels of air pollution in populated areas such as Istanbul have profound regional and global effects (Elbir, et al., 2010). Such effects include depletion of the ozone layer, ground level ozone, climate change, respiratory diseases and global warming.
Monitoring and managing air pollution and air quality in major cities is essential to deal with such problems at regional and global levels (Elbir, et al., 2010). Effective management process and environmental planning enhances decision making towards formulation and implementation of realistic action plans and strategies for enhancing air quality. This would provide a means of understanding the long-term and short-term causes and effects of urban air pollution to aid the city achieve sustained growth patterns.
Adequacy of Research Methods
The study applied the CALPUFF / CALMET modeling system for calculation of the dispersion of the different pollutants from their respective sources (Elbir, et al., 2010). This model was adopted by the United States as an effective model for evaluation of the long-range movement of pollutants in the United States and their respective impacts. The Geographical Information System (GIS) is used as the primary means of storage, capturing, checking and manipulation of data that is referenced spatially (Elbir, et al., 2010). The study also focused on various air quality support systems such as Airviro, Air-Ware, AirQuis and EnviMan to understand the overall levels of air pollution in small geographical areas (Elbir, et al., 2010). They are limited by the low spatial resolution and failure to conform to high spatial variations in urban areas given that they only consider exposure assessments.
The research indicates the various decision support systems appropriate for management of urban air quality are not applied in Istanbul. In addition, the studies in turkey are indicative of low spatial resolutions (Elbir, et al., 2010). Thus, they have not taken adequate advantage of geographical information systems (GIS) and administrative databases. In addition, comprehensive air quality modeling, emission inventories, air quality mapping through geographical information system (GIS) and scenario analyses for the abatement of air pollution (Elbir, et al., 2010).
The air quality model was based on the geographical information system (GIS) and CALPUFF, which is a puff dispersion model that is primarily used for predictions of air quality. CALMET model was used to process meteorological data. The support systems were effective in proving real-time data with respect to the factors causing air pollution and the presumed effects of such decline of air quality (Elbir, et al., 2010).
Elbir, T., Mangir, N., Kara, M., Simsir, S., Eren, T., & Ozdemir, S. (2010). Development of a GIS-based decision support system for urban air quality management in the city of Istanbul. Atmospheric Environment, 44(4), 441-454.
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