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BIO2018 : Pollution of Air, Water & Soil

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Simon Peacock
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


To provide a sound platform of understanding relating to the sources, movement and effects of pollution on atmospheric, terrestrial and freshwater environments. By the end of the course students will appreciate the scale and extent of pollution impacts and be able to place modern problems in a historical content.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module will provide students with an introduction to the sources, movement and effects of pollution on atmospheric, terrestrial and freshwater environments. The course will review the history of pollution and the development of monitoring techniques and risk assessment approaches, in a bid to highlight the scale and nature of current pollution issues and abatement policy-drivers.

History of air pollution and its effects, including development of concepts. Emission, dispersion and deposition of pollutants. Bio-monitoring of air pollution. Examples of major air pollutants: SO2, NOx, O3, NHx. The forest decline controversy. Sources and impacts of soil pollution. Biology of freshwater pollution, organic and plastics pollution and eutrophication; acidification. Heavy metal contaminants. Radionuclides. Agricultural pollution. Soil remediation.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials141:0014:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion120:0020:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading112:0012:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops32:006:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity111:3011:30N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study135:0035:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk11:301:30N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The online lectures will enable an appreciation of pollution history, methods of study and the consequences. Coursework is directed towards preparing information in a concise manner, encouraging teamwork, and developing presentation skills (delivered and tested in class).

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise1M100Alternative Assessment, 24hr Exam
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Prof skill assessmnt1MGroup Presentation via Zoom
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The formal exam invites critical discussion of issues, some of which involve integration of material from different sources. The range of questions will allow some scope for the special interests to be displayed. ranging from mechanistics to policy issues.

Coursework requires each group (4 students maximum) to make a 15 minute oral presentation for subsequent discussion in class(team produced and peer assessed).

Study Abroad students may request to take their exam before the semester 1 exam period, in which case the format of the paper may differ from that shown in the MOF. Study Abroad students should contact the school to discuss this.

Reading Lists