China Environment Series Editor Issues Call for Papers-Focus on Environmental Health Challenges in China

Nov 01, 2006

The editor of the China Environment Series is welcoming proposals for feature articles (20-25 pages double-spaced) and commentaries (3-5 pages double-spaced) for its special environmental health issue due out in the fall of 2007.

Proposals for feature articles and commentaries are due by December 8, 2006.

Please email abstracts of less than 250 words or other inquiries to Dr. Jennifer L. Turner.

Authors will be given style guidelines after proposals are accepted. Final drafts of commentaries will be due February 6, 2007; feature articles will be due March 7, 2007.

Special Environmental Health Issue
As part of the China Environment Forum's partnership with Western Kentucky University's "Environmental Health in China Project," sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development, the upcoming China Environment Series will have a strong focus on environmental health. Stated broadly, we are interested in looking at how environmental degradation is impacting human health in China. Besides describing the magnitude of environmental health problems and gaps in policy and institutions, we hope to find authors who will write about projects aimed at stemming pollution and environmental degradation which are major threats to human health.

In addition to our usual feature articles and commentaries, this issue will include our new "Spotlight on NGO Activism Boxes" that highlight NGO activities throughout China. I would appreciate those receiving this call for papers to please let me know about any Chinese environmental organizations doing work related to protecting public heath (or health NGOs doing environmental work). We will accept such information in both English and Chinese.

Possible Environmental Health Themes
Clearly, there are many topics that authors can examine with an environmental health lens. Coal burning and vehicle emissions are the drivers of increasingly severe respiratory problems in China which are causing between 300,000 to 500,000 early deaths each year. Severe pollution affects all major rivers in China, threatening human health and disrupting industrial production, as well as destroying river ecosystems. Underground water in 90 percent of Chinese cities is polluted, raising human health concerns, since 70 percent of the Chinese population depends on underground water for drinking. Excessive use of pesticides, weakly regulated industries, and feeble regulations on hazardous wastes (notably, in increasing e-waste) are some of the main drivers of severe water and soil contamination in China.

To spark some thinking among potential contributors, we have noted some of our own brainstorming on a variety of environmental health topics. Use the following paragraphs as inspiration, but not as a list of rigid requirements for potential topics. As is our usual practice, we will welcome proposals beyond the issue's special theme.

* Environmental health policymaking and government capacity. What is the overall capacity of the Chinese government to address environmental health challenges, both in terms of laws and institutional structure? How could the Ministry of Health, State Environmental Protection Administration, and other relevant agencies improve environmental health risk assessment, analysis, and management, which are crucial to improving their decision-making and enforcement capacity? While EIA regulations have gotten stronger, the issue of health impact assessments (HIAs) is rarely discussed. How well or poorly are HIAs carried out? What kind of capacity building is needed to improve them?

* Agriculture and environmental health. The agricultural sector is clearly an environmental health priority, due to irrigation runoff laden with fertilizers and pesticides, and pesticide residues on vegetables. We are interested in new case studies of NGOs/researchers working with farming communities and local governments to address issues of pesticide and fertilizer control.

* Water pollution and environmental health. Anecdotal evidence of the growing environmental health threats from water pollution abounds in the Western press-usually in reporting on major rivers such as the Huai. We are particularly interested in NGOs and others studying or helping communities on environmental health issues in various watersheds.

* Pollution threats to children's health. There have been some internationally supported studies and surveys looking at the impact of lead, auto emissions, and sulfur dioxide (SO2) on children's health, but few studies seem to be aimed at pushing policymakers for stricter enforcement. One exception is a study on coal burning and children's health that NRDC has conducted with the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health, Chongqing University of Medical Sciences, and other research centers in Chongqing (a commentary in CES 8). We are interested in featuring some commentaries or notes from activists or researchers in the field who are carrying out projects aimed at raising the issue of children's health and pollution.

* E-waste and environmental health. Information on efforts going on within Chinese coastal communities to halt the human health threats posed by uncontrolled e-waste imports into China.

* Energy sector and environmental health. An estimated 64 percent of China's population uses coal in their homes, and about 22 percent of rural homes rely on coal for domestic fuel. The effects of coal burning are magnified because coal often is not washed before it is used, and it is cooked in un-vented stoves. Cooking with tainted coal can expose people to arsenic, fluorine, lead, and mercury.

Other topics could include environmental justice, NGO activism on environmental health issues, industrial accidents, and environmental health reporting in the Chinese news media.

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