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BIO2018 : Pollution of Air, Water & Soil

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Simon Peacock
  • Lecturer: Dr Sue Haile
  • 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the course students will appreciate the scale and extent of pollution impacts and be able to place modern problems in a historical content.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
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture151:0015:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion12:002:00Final exam
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion120:306:00Revision for final exam
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion112:0012:00Group presentation (including preparation time)
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading121:0012:00Completion of post-lecture directed reading
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study181:0018:00Lectures
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study135:0035:00Study of lectures, ReCap, Blackboard etc.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The 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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1201A70N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Prof skill assessmnt1M30Group presentation
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The formal exam is in two parts. The essays invite 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. The compulsory questions are to test knowledge of facts and comprehension across the subject. The practical will enable interpretation of modelled plant community outcomes as a result of environmental change.

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