2023-01-28Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.18452/28255
Health effects of shrinking hyper-saline lakes
spatiotemporal modeling of the Lake Urmia drought on the local population, case study of the Shabestar County
Climate change and its respective environmental impacts, such as dying lakes, is widely acknowledged. Studies on the impact of shrinking hyper-saline lakes suggest severe negative consequences for the health of the affected population. The primary aim was to investigate the relationship between changes in the water level of the hyper-saline Lake Urmia, along with the associated salt release, and the prevalence of hypertension and the general state of health of the local population in Shabestar County north of the lake. Moreover, we sought to map the vulnerability of the local population to the health risks associated with salt-dust scatter using multiple environmental and demographic characteristics. We applied a spatiotemporal analysis of the environmental parameters of Lake Urmia and the health of the local population. We analyzed health survey data from local health care centers and a national STEPS study in Shabestar County, Iran. We used a time-series of remote sensing images to monitor the trend of occurrence and extent of salt-dust storms between 2012 and 2020. To evaluate the impacts of lake drought on the health of the residences, we investigated the spatiotemporal correlation of the lake drought and the state of health of local residents. We applied a GIScience multiple decision analysis to identify areas affected by salt-dust particles and related these to the health status of the residents. According to our results, the lake drought has significantly contributed to the increasing cases of hypertension in local patients. The number of hypertensive patients has increased from 2.09% in 2012 to 19.5% in 2019 before decreasing slightly to 16.05% in 2020. Detailed results showed that adults, and particularly females, were affected most by the effects of the salt-dust scatter in the residential areas close to the lake. The results of this study provide critical insights into the environmental impacts of the Lake Urmia drought on the human health of the residents. Based on the results we suggest that detailed socioeconomic studies might be required for a comprehensive analysis of the human health issues in this area. Nonetheless, the proposed methods can be applied to monitor the environmental impacts of climate change on human health.
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The article processing charge was funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) – 491192747 and the Open Access Publication Fund of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.