Academic journal article Economics & Sociology

Comparative Assessment of Environmental Indicators of Quality of Life in Romania and Lithuania

Academic journal article Economics & Sociology

Comparative Assessment of Environmental Indicators of Quality of Life in Romania and Lithuania

Article excerpt

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

Introduction

Environmental quality is a key dimension of people's well-being, as quality of life is strongly affected by a healthy environment (Holman & Coan, 2008; Kahn, 2002) and has a direct impact on human health. Besides affecting people's health, the environment also matters intrinsically as many people attach importance to the beauty and the healthiness of the place where they live (Balestra& Dottori, 2011; Kahn, & Matsusaka, 1997). People also directly benefit from environmental assets and services, such as water, clean air, lands, forests, and access to green spaces, as these assets allow them to satisfy basic needs and to enjoy free time and the company of others (Pretty, Peacock, Sellens, & Griffin, 2005; Balestra, & Sultan, 2011).

The environmental indicators reflecting the quality of life can be grouped based on their relationships with quality of life: indicators of environmental quality, indicators for assessing environmentally responsible behaviour, and indicators of consumption of environmental services. These groups of indicators are tightly interrelated as environmentally responsible behaviour has positive impact on environmental quality, and improved environmental quality provides for higher consumption of services provided by the environment.

The aim of this paper is to develop a system of integrated environmental indicators that can be applied for comparative assessment of quality of life in Lithuania and Romania.

The paper has four main objectives:

* To select indicators for assessing environmental quality, environmentally responsible behaviour, and consumption of environmental services based on the EUROSTAT database;

* To develop integrated environmental indicators of quality of life;

* To analyse and compare integrated environmental indicator trends in Lithuania and Romania during the 2004-2011 period;

* To develop policy recommendations based on the analysis provided.

Environmental indicators related to quality of life

The quality of local living environment has a direct impact on human health and well- being, and economies rely not only on healthy and productive workers but also on natural resources such as water, timber, fisheries, plants and crops (Zheng, 2010; Reto & Garcia- Vega, 2012). Consumption of environmental services and amenities also has a direct impact on quality of life. Conversely, the quality of the environment and environmental services and amenities are affected by human behaviour (Osbaldiston & Sheldon, 2003; Thogersen, 2006).

Indeed, "environmental indicators related to quality of life" is a broad concept, and a system of indicators should be developed that inform about the quality of environmental media (e.g., soil, water, air) on people's access to environmental services and amenities, as well as on environmentally responsible behavior (Mace, Bell, & Loomis, 1999). Environmentally responsible behavior provides for higher quality of environmental media and environmental services and amenities. The environmental indicators relevant to quality of life and their classification under three different dimensional groups are presented in Table 1.

Environmental quality indicators

The environmental quality indicators encompass a number of environmental media such as air, soil, and water. Most of the attention, however, has focused on air pollution indicators related to environmental quality due to evidence of sizeable effects of air pollutants on human health and a lack of relevant data for some of the other media. The objective measure of air quality used in the paper only takes into account PM10 and ground ozone concentrations. One other important air quality indicator related to CO2 emissions in transport was selected because the transport sector is one of the major problems for European Union (EU) sustainable development.

In soil media, waste plays the major role. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.