Environmental change in Europe shown in new UN photo Atlas
UNEP News Release 2005/27
June 5, 2005
The following is a highlight from the United Nations Environment Programme’s new Atlas, “One Planet Many People Atlas of Our Changing Environment”
The atlas focuses on the large, Romanian city of Copsa Mica, which is believed to be one of the sickliest in the world.
The 1986 image shows very high level of air pollution (black). In the image of 2004, the air pollution level has substantially decreased a positive change in the environment.
The Almeria region of southern Spain was once a typical rural agricultural area, satellite images from 1974 show.
The latest image tells a different story showing how an area of around 20,000 hectares has been transformed into a vast glass-house for producing greenhouse crops.
The development has important implications for Spanish water supplies with the government looking at technologies such as desalination plants.
The Ataturk Dam was built in Turkey on the Euphrates River in 1990. It generates 8.9 billion kilowatt hours of electricity, which is equivalent to over a fifth of the country’s anticipated needs in 2010.
Its impact on the landscape, as seen from space, is dramatic. The flooded areas appear as a large jagged mass of black.
South of the dam, around the town of Harran, the landscape has become green as a result of irrigation schemes made possible by the dam.
Within the European Union, London is the mostly densely packed city after Copenhagen, Brussels and Paris. It is also culturally rich with over 300 languages spoken and nearly a third of its over seven million residents from an ethnic minority.
The population is forecast to rise eight million in around 2020. Satellite images from 1976 and 2004 indicate that London’s shape and area has changed little in the past 30 years.
Bucharest, Romania, has undergone quite important changes over the last 30 years. In the late 1970s satellites reveal that it was a compact, well defined, city of some seven km in radius.
During the 1980s, during the Presidency of Nicolae Ceausecu, villages on the outskirts were dismantled to make way for expansion and centrally planned projects. Today, partly as a result of the re-privatisation of land, people are moving out of the centre into new suburbs.
The publication “One Planet Many People: Atlas of our Changing Environment ” can be purchased at Earth Print