Environmental Pollution

Unit code: GEOG10161
Credit Rating: 10
Unit level: Level 1
Teaching period(s): Semester 1
Offered by Geography
Available as a free choice unit?: Y




  • To provide an introduction to environmental pollution.
  • To review key concepts in environmental pollution.
  • To develop an understanding of the causes and effects of pollution.
  • To build awareness of the strategies used to control and manage pollution.
  • To place contemporary problems of environmental pollution in a longer-term temporal perspective.
  • To develop cognitive and analytical skills.


This course covers the basics of environmental pollution, the major types of pollution (in air, water and soil), the impacts and issues it poses, and the strategies used to prevent and control pollution.

Teaching and learning methods

The course is delivered though lecture classes including student interaction and discussion. Students are expected to read widely to support these lecture classes and undertake the support activities indicated for each lecture. Key overheads, notes and suggestions for independent activities to support the class (including directed reading) are posted on the course Blackboard site.


Learning outcomes

By the end of the course unit, you should be able to:

  • Understand contemporary pollution issues.
  • Have insight into specific examples of environmental pollution.
  • Understand the causes and effects of key types of environmental pollution.
  • Appreciate different pollution control strategies.


Transferable skills and personal qualities

Skills and Employability

During this course unit, you will be encouraged to develop the following abilities and skills:

  • Reading, learning and study skills.
  • Critically judging and evaluating scientific evidence.
  • Abstracting and synthesising ideas and information.

Assessment Further Information

The course unit will be assessed by a two hour unseen written examination.


Course Structure


  • Environmental pollution: concepts and questions.
  • Urban air pollution.
  • Trans-boundary air pollution.
  • Water pollution.
  • Drinking water pollution.
  • Solid waste.
  • Metal pollution.
  • Pesticides.
  • Managing environmental pollution.
  • Semester review and revision.

Recommended reading

Selected Readings
* Hill, M.K. (2010) Understanding Environmental Pollution. 3rd edition. Cambridge University Press. Other editions are also suitable. *Key Text.
Elsom, D.M. (1992). Atmospheric pollution: a global problem. Blackwell, Oxford.
Gray, N.F. (2008). Drinking Water Quality: Problems and Solutions. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Harrison, R.M. (2006). An Introduction to Pollution Science. Royal Society of Chemistry, London.
Mason, C.F. (2002). Biology of freshwater pollution. Prentice Hall, Harlow.

Key Journals
Environmental Pollution.
Environmental Science and Policy.
Environmental Science and Technology.
Journal of Environment Management.
Science of the Total Environment.
Water Air and Soil Pollution.

Feedback methods

Feedback will be provided in the following ways during this course unit:

  • Verbal feedback through Q&A and discussions within lectures
  • Verbal feedback on any course unit issue through staff consultation hours
  • Online feedback via online quizzes
  • Verbal and written feedback on tutorial assignments (Geography students)
  • Written feedback on the examination – delivered through tutorials (Geography students)

Study hours

  • Assessment written exam - 2 hours
  • Lectures - 20 hours
  • Independent study hours - 78 hours

Teaching staff

James Rothwell - Unit coordinator

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