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A Study on the Development of Environmental Health Indicators in Seoul

Jong-Seok Won · Hyo-Mi Kim · Sang-Gyoon Kim

Environmental health indicators are developed to provide information related to environmental pollution and health, which requires continuous construction of related data due to the nature of the field in which the causal relationship between environment and health needs to be examined over a long period of time. Through this, it is possible to compare differences between regions and time, to summarize relevant information, and to use it for selection of regions requiring policy intervention.

In this study we developed environmental health indicators by reflecting regional characteristics of Seoul. To do that we reviewed advanced environmental health indicators development and operation cases, collected opinions from stakeholders, and analyzed spatial characteristics of environmental health in Seoul.

Overseas environmental health indicators are calculated as indicators by approaching the concept of environment as a broad concept encompassing physical, biological, chemical, and social domains. There are cases in the United States such as New York City and California that identify the environmental health status of the region and New York City, which improve feasibility by using a wide range of indicators in accordance with policy needs. It is easy to interpret the meaning of environmental health.

According to the results of a citizen survey conducted in this study, 88.7% of Seoul citizens were interested in the fact that environmental pollutants could cause diseases, but only 25.9% of Seoul citizens were aware of Seoul's environmental health improvement policies. Currently, high public interest in the dangers of environmental pollutants is not connected to the environmental health improvement policy of Seoul.

83.2% of Seoul citizens responded that it was necessary to disclose the environmental health indicators suggested by us. This means that environmental health indicators are a major way to satisfy citizens' interest in environmental pollutant risks.

Seoul citizens prefer the disclosure of health impact-related indicators over other indicators, and consider indicators related to respiratory diseases to be important. Although more than 70% of Seoul citizens think that it is possible to raise awareness and change their behavior through the disclosure of indicators, it was found that it is necessary to consider the vulnerable groups who have difficulty accessing information.

The establishment of environmental health indicators in Seoul was carried out in the process of preparing a list of environmental health indicators and selecting key environmental health indicators. The list of environmental health indicators is derived according to the six characteristics of air, indoor air, climate change, chemicals, water quality, and living environment, and is the name of a conceptual model for the development of DPSEEA(It is an abbreviation of Driving force, Pressure, State, Exposure, Effect, and Action). In this study, after discussion with researchers and experts, Seoul’s key environmental health indicators were divided into 7 categories by adding population vulnerability to 6 categories of DPSEEA.

It was constructed by adding the vulnerability of the population group to the model. From the 1,435 derived list, 30 primary environmental health indicators were selected by synthesizing the review opinions of internal and external researchers, and 43 additional indicators including 9 indicators highly related to the primary environmental health indicators and 4 indicators recommended by advisors The indicators were selected as the key environmental health indicators of Seoul.

It was confirmed that the 43 key environmental health indicators derived can be used in connection with 15 detailed tasks out of 25 tasks of the Seoul City Environmental Health Comprehensive Plan Establishment Study. This is true for most of the detailed tasks of high importance and urgency.

As a result of collecting statistics related to key environmental health indicators and aggregating them for each autonomous district, it was confirmed that the current status and trends could be expressed. It was found that there was a difference in the distribution in terms of environmental health pressures and conditions for each autonomous district, and it was also found that air pollutants increased in a specific year in certain autonomous districts while air pollutants were generally decreasing.

The Seoul Environmental Health Index was developed on a pilot basis, focusing on the evaluation of the cumulative impact on the air sector and applied to the selection of vulnerable areas. 15 key environmental health indices were selected and a weighted survey was conducted among 10 experts. In the major category, the environmental health burden, in the middle category, the environmental exposure, and in the detailed index, the number of deaths from the circulatory and respiratory system was found to be the highest. Based on this, as a result of the preliminary evaluation of the environmental health level of each autonomous district in Seoul, it was possible to identify 5 autonomous districts with good environmental health levels and 5 autonomous districts with concerns. Autonomous districts, where the level of environmental health may be of concern, are characterized by high environmental exposure to fine dust, nitrogen oxides, and volatile organic compounds.

The process of developing core environmental health indicators in Seoul consists of the steps of analyzing environmental and health risk factors, deriving candidate groups for environmental health indicators, deriving a list of environmental health indicators, analyzing the feasibility of environmental health indicators, deriving core environmental health indicators, and verifying the utility of key environmental health indicators. was defined. A fact sheet was prepared for 43 key environmental health indicators in Seoul. Based on this, it is used as metadata of the environmental health information system.

In order to establish Seoul's core environmental health indicators, cooperation from 8 related organizations other than the city of Seoul is required, and 12 data from the city itself, 30 data requiring linkage, and 1 data requiring new construction were analyzed. In the long term, we will develop a comprehensive environmental health information system for Seoul to build data centered on key environmental health indicators. The selection and disclosure of Seoul's key environmental health indicators are managed by the Citizens' Health Bureau, while the Seoul Research Institute and the Seoul Regional Environmental Health Center conduct due diligence on data-based evaluation and monitoring.

Seoul's core environmental health indicators measure the environmental health status of each autonomous district in Seoul, identify necessary matters, develop regionally customized environmental health policies, and use them as a basis for selecting priorities between policies. It is intended to provide a basic analysis tool for a fact-finding survey for the introduction of customized policies in areas vulnerable to environmental health.

As a result of the survey in this study, Seoul citizens positively perceive the necessity and influence of environmental health indicators in Seoul, so it can be used as a communication material for citizens to promote environmental health policies. Provide citizens' environmental health education contents and utilize them for local environmental health campaigns.