Lessons

Air Pollution: A Global Problem

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Deng Xiaoping poster. Image by IISH.

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Image from the project, "Lifting the Veil on Polluters in China," by Fred de Sam Lazaro, Shi Lihong and Gary Marcuse. China, 2015.

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Delhi is the most polluted city in the world. Image by Ishan Tankha. India, 2015.

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Three-year-old Zaskia was born with a congenital deformity and is missing several fingers and toes. Doctors suspect the birth defect is related to high levels of mercury Zaskia's mother was exposed to during pregnancy. Image by Larry C. Price. Indonesia, 2015.

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Emel Salazar Yuriuilca is the president of the Federation of Unemployed in La Oroya. She agrees with the social elements to which Pope Francis speaks regarding the environment. She is a devout Catholic. She reveres the first Latin American pope. But, she says, “The life of that plant is more important than anything the pope says. Yes, we are poor. But that’s because the plant closed. That’s when the problems of poverty started.” Image by Jason Houston. Peru, 2015.

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Each and every house contributes to the problem, but there is no alternative. Image by Katie Mathieson. Patagonia, 2014.

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Early morning at the Tibetan Monastery at Baiyu in eastern Qinghai province.
Image by Li Lei/ Face to Face Media. China, 2014.

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Three-year-old Zaskia plays in the living room of her home. Image by Larry C. Price. Indonesia, 2015.

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Freddy Rojas Chacha, the elected president of the Community of Old La Oroya near the plant, says “We must respect the view of the pope. But if he says the plant should not reopen because of pollution, what solution does he offer? Where will we work? We must support our families.” Image by Jason Houston. Peru, 2015.

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The rugged and unforgiving roads in and out of Cochrane were among the list of changes local residents were hopeful would be improved as a result of hydroelectric development. Image by Katie Mathieson. Patagonia, 2014.

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Stockholm 1972 general assembly's Chinese delegation. Image by China Delegation. Sweden, 1972.

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Pause holds her child Nyimas, 9, inside their small home in this mining community of 1500. Nyimas began showing symptoms of hydrocephalus at three months and underwent surgery at seven months to relive brain pressure. Image by Larry C. Price. Indonesia, 2015.

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La Oroya is a city of about 33,000 people on the River Mantaro in central Peru. The impact of acid rain on mountains near the plant. Image by Jason Houston. Peru, 2015.

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The landscape just outside of town highlights the beauty of Patagonia, contrasting snow-covered peaks with expansive grasslands. Image by Katie Mathieson. Patagonia, 2014.

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IPE founder Ma Jun with director Gary Marcuse. China, 2010.

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Nyimas, 9, lies on a pillow inside a small home in this mining community of 1,500. Nyimas has limited cognitive ability and must be cared for around the clock. Her mother worked around gold mines and processing facilities during pregnancy and doctors suspect exposure at that time contributed to Nyimas's condition. Image by Larry C. Price. Indonesia, 2015.

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Elena Conterno, president of the National Society of Fisheries. Image by Emilia Catanoso. Peru, 2015.

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Cerro Castillo is an icon of the Aysen Region, the region where the construction of five hydroelectric mega-dams was proposed under a project called HidroAysen. This mountain is considered more beautiful than many of the more popular tourists attractions in Patagonia according to local residents. However, getting there is much more challenging. Image by Katie Mathieson. Patagonia, 2014.

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Former EPA director Qu Geping with filmmaker Gary Marcuse near Beijing. China, 2010.

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Ayu, 10, sits with her nephew, Fikri, 2, inside their hut where doctors were evaluating Fikri's neurological problems. Image by Larry C. Price. Indonesia, 2015.

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Mining executive Roque Benavides. Image by Emilia Catanoso. Peru, 2015.

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The smoke in Cochrane makes it difficult to see more than 100 yards. Image by Katie Mathieson. Patagonia, 2014.

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Farmers on the Upper Yangtze organize to stop the dam at Tiger Leaping Gorge Image by Shi Lihong/Face to Face Media. China, 2015.

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Doctor's concluded Fikri has upper motor neuron disorders. Image by Larry C. Price. Indonesia, 2015.

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Smoke hovers over the city of Cochrane 24 hours a day. Image by Katie Mathieson. Patagonia, 2014.

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A reunion of the founders of China's first NGO, Friends of Nature. Image by Liang Xiaoyan. China, 2010.

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Fikri, 2, has upper motor neuron disorders. Both Fikri's parents lived and worked in small-scale gold mines during his mother Nuri's pregnancy. Image by Larry C. Price. Indonesia, 2015.

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The Baker River was the site of two of the proposed five megadams. This river is largely uninhabited but also unbelievably beautiful. Image by Katie Mathieson. Patagonia, 2014.

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Yuri, 35, holds her two children Nur, left and Fikri, 2, inside their hut where doctors were evaluating Fikri's neurological disorder. Image by Larry C. Price. Indonesia, 2015.

Use the prompts listed to the right to explore the attached resources from 10 Pulitzer Center grantees.

Educator Notes: 

In this lesson, using Pulitzer Center journalism resources, we'll examine air pollution around the world.

6.4.1

Describe the worldwide trend toward urbanization, and graph this trend. 

6.5.11

Use a variety of means to research the sources of different types of pollution in the local community and design measures that can be taken to reduce each type of pollution.

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