Household Air Pollution in a Changing Tibet: A Mixed Methods Ethnography Amidst Particulate Matter and Black Carbon 公开

Sclar, Steve (2015)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/k0698794j?locale=zh
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Abstract

Background : Household air pollution (HAP) has recently been deemed the number one environmental health risk in the world, responsible each year for 4.3 million deaths globally and 420,000 in China. Tibetan regions of China are well known for pristine ambient air, but several recent studies have concluded that the indoor air quality in Tibetan homes is compromised. Yet these studies -- like most HAP studies conducted globally -- do not provide a clear picture of the complex socio-contextual ecosystem within which the indoor air becomes polluted. The sociology of Tibet is changing -- some might say 'developing' -- rapidly due to a variety of forces, and this study sought to holistically understand HAP in relation to these changes.

Methods: We took 28 measurements of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and black carbon (BC) in a variety of Tibetan dwellings in the Golog Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. A semi-structured interview was also administered with residents to gain a sense of household behaviors and attitudes. Most importantly, ethnographic participant-observation was undertaken in order to gain 'thick' understandings of HAP in the Tibetan context.

Results: We measured very high concentrations of PM2.5 across all residential sites. The highest concentrations were found in the traditional yak hair tent, but nomads living in plastic tarp tents with improved stoves and stovepipes also had very compromised indoor air quality. The air in sedentary homes with improved stoves and stovepipes was only marginally better than tarp tents. All of the nomads in this study said they would prefer to use a fuel other than yak dung. More nomads expressed concern about climate change than HAP, and indoor trash burning was seen at all sites.

Conclusions: HAP is certainly a cause for concern in Tibet, and several actors across various sectors are pursuing interventions. This study highlights the convoluted reality of HAP in Tibet and suggests that current 'development' trends are not adequately mitigating the issue. Lifestyles and attitudes in Tibet are in flux, and it will be crucial for HAP interventions to be community-based and community-driven in order to be successful.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Background…………………………………………….……1

Chapter 2: Manuscript……………………………………….………….11 Introduction…………………………….……….……………...12 Methods……………………………………….………………..15 Results………………………………………….…………….....20 Discussion…………………………………….………………...28 References…………………………………….………………...35

Figures and Tables………………………………………..……..39

Chapter 3: Summary…………………………………….…………….....44

Appendix………………………………………………………………..47

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