Sample Undergraduate 2:1 Environmental Sciences Topic With Titles

Environmental Sciences
Modified: 1st September 2023

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Dissertation Topics With Titles

1. Factors Influencing Sanitation Conditions

Access to clean water is a significant factor in the development of disease, particularly in developing countries. Goal 4 of the Millennium Development Goals is to reduce child mortality by two thirds for children under 5. In areas where sanitation is lacking, child deaths from contaminated water are still unacceptably high. There has been a focus of development projects on the provision of potable water resources and hygiene facilities, yet the rates of water borne diseases, in some areas, have remained static or decreased only slightly. This suggests that there are other interacting factors which need to be considered if the issue of high child mortality rates from water borne diseases is to be effectively addressed.

This dissertation will examine the sanitation issue from a socio-cultural and demographic perspective. There will be an investigation and discussion of how these two factors could potentially influence hygiene behaviour and what role this may play in the transmission of diseases. This will include an assessment of whether these factors are contributing to the failure of sanitation projects and how these potential barriers can be overcome. Additionally, the common bacteria which are present in the stored drinking water of households will be discussed. The findings of this study will contribute towards the development of intervention methods to reduce the instances of disease and poor hygiene that are occurring.

Key Resources

Clasen, T., 2015. Household water treatment and safe storage to prevent diarrheal disease in developing countries. Current environmental health reports, 2(1), pp.69-74.

Mbuya, M.N. and Humphrey, J.H., 2016. Preventing environmental enteric dysfunction through improved water, sanitation and hygiene: an opportunity for stunting reduction in developing countries. Maternal & child nutrition, 12, pp.106-120.

Prüss‐Ustün, A., Bartram, J., Clasen, T., Colford Jr, J.M., Cumming, O., Curtis, V., Bonjour, S., Dangour, A.D., De France, J., Fewtrell, L. and Freeman, M.C., 2014. Burden of disease from inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene in low‐and middle‐income settings: a retrospective analysis of data from 145 countries. Tropical Medicine & International Health, 19(8), pp.894-905.

Omar, Y.Y., Parker, A., Smith, J.A. and Pollard, S.J., 2017. Risk management for drinking water safety in low and middle income countries-cultural influences on water safety plan (WSP) implementation in urban water utilities. Science of the Total Environment, 576, pp.895-906.

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2. Africa and Sustainable Agriculture Under Future Climate Change

Many developing countries are under increasing pressure to produce sufficient crops to provide for their populations. Future climate change is one of the factors which may increase the challenges for agricultural activities in developing countries. In particular, the poorest members of society, relying on subsistence agriculture are arguably the most at risk from potential climate change impacts. The potential impacts of climate change include increased frequency of extreme events, such as flooding and drought. Therefore, it is necessary that mitigation actions are developed to ensure that the future impacts of climate change do not threaten food security.

This dissertation will examine the current issues affecting agriculture in selected African countries. This will include an examination of how food provision disproportionally impacts populations. An assessment will be undertaken into how the predicted impacts of climate change could affect the agricultural sector in the selected countries. As part of the investigation, the impact of currently implemented solutions to climate change on agricultural will be identified and the potential for these solutions to be applied to the selected countries will be discussed.

Key Resources

Altieri, M.A. and Nicholls, C.I., 2017. The adaptation and mitigation potential of traditional agriculture in a changing climate. Climatic Change, 140(1), pp.33-45.

de Moraes Sá, J.C., Lal, R., Cerri, C.C., Lorenz, K., Hungria, M. and de Faccio Carvalho, P.C., 2017. Low-carbon agriculture in South America to mitigate global climate change and advance food security. Environment international, 98, pp.102-112.

Fellmann, T., Witzke, P., Weiss, F., Van Doorslaer, B., Drabik, D., Huck, I., Salputra, G., Jansson, T. and Leip, A., 2018. Major challenges of integrating agriculture into climate change mitigation policy frameworks. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, 23(3), pp.451-468.

Sonwa, D.J., Dieye, A., El Mzouri, E.H., Majule, A., Mugabe, F.T., Omolo, N., Wouapi, H., Obando, J. and Brooks, N., 2017. Drivers of climate risk in African agriculture. Climate and Development, 9(5), pp.383-398.

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3. Can the Paris Accord Succeed Where the Kyoto Protocol Failed?

Climate change is a global issue which is primarily driven by anthropogenic global warming. It is the anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases which are the principle factor causing enhanced global warming. Due to the transboundary nature of greenhouse gas emissions it is necessary that all countries act together to reduce the potential for irreversible global warming to occur. There is a history of international agreements which have been attempted to mitigate the emissions of greenhouse gases. However, the success of historical international agreements, most recently the Kyoto Protocol, has been limited. Whilst agreements have been reached, there has been limited success and what success has occurred has not been uniform. Therefore, a significant issue remains. The latest international agreement which seeks to tackle the anthropogenic cause of global warming is termed the Paris Accords.

This dissertation seeks to understand the challenges associated with the development and implementation of international agreements to reduce greenhouse gases emissions. The relative successes and failures of the Kyoto Protocol will be reviewed and critically discussed. The Kyoto Protocol will be compared to the new Paris Accords and will investigate whether there is the potential for the Paris Accords to be an improvement upon historic international agreements. Potential areas of strengths and weaknesses within the Paris Accords will be identified.

Key Resources

Betsill, M.M., 2017. Trump’s Paris withdrawal and the reconfiguration of global climate change governance. Chinese Journal of Population Resources and Environment, 15(3), pp.189-191.

Jackson, L.P., Grinsted, A. and Jevrejeva, S., 2018. 21st Century Sea‐Level Rise in Line with the Paris Accord. Earth's Future, 6(2), pp.213-229.

Mahapatra, S.K. and Ratha, K.C., 2017. Paris climate accord: Miles to go. Journal of International Development, 29(1), pp.147-154.

Pickering, J., McGee, J.S., Stephens, T. and Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen, S.I., 2018. The impact of the US retreat from the Paris Agreement: Kyoto revisited?. Climate Policy, 18(7), pp.818-827.

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