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Understanding Perth's Environmental Issues

Discuss about the Community Development in Perth Sustainability.

Perth, one of the largest and the richest cities in Australia but suffers from several environmental problems which are impacting its population, especially in the suburbs like Stirling very badly. The environmental issues consist of degeneration of water resources and falling quality of drinking water, two issues which are impacting the health of the people living in the suburbs. The aim of the paper would be to develop a community program in the Stirling suburban areas to enable the people fight these issues. The community development program would include local government of the city of Stirling, the body corporates, the medical facilities and the people residing in the suburb. The significance of the community development program would lie in helping the communities living in the area deal with these environmental problems and reduce the diseases which they suffer from due to poor water quality and drainage problem. The community development program on the macro level would follow the environmental protection plan undertaken by the Department of Environment and Energy, Government of Australia (environment.gov.au, 2018). The program at federal level would be proceed under guidance of Parliament of Australia (aph.gov.au, 2018). The dimension of the plan would envelop a variety of conservation activities and waste management activities which would go towards improving the water resources and sanitation conditions the people of Perth are face. The program would have three main stages or sections namely, community scan revolving around Perth, planning decision and implementation. The program would follow the asset based community development approach or the ABCD approach.

An in depth study of Perth would reveal that the region has experienced economic boom due to mining and industrial development. However, consultation with local people would point that there is increasing income inequality in the area leading to rising poverty. The reports published by the Supreme Court of Western Australia also pointed out to lowering income among poor families and their inability to acquire proper accommodation (supremecourt.wa.gov, 2018). The mining sector in the region results releases huge amount of wastes, both liquid and solid which ultimately degenerates the water resources and quality in the region. The huge number of poor people who cannot afford expensive water purifiers are the worst affected due to this poor water quality (abc.net.au, 2018). One can observe that the problem can be encountered or at least reduced by launching community development program. The community development program would as a result aim to achieve betterment in the sanitation conditions by taking appropriate environmental conservation measures. It would also stress on the ethical responsibility of the stakeholders like the government, the industries in the area and the local people to work towards conserving the environment of Perth (Haque et al. 2014).

The Need for an Asset Based Community Development Approach

The community that the community development program would serve can be defined as the government, industries and the people of Stirling. The boundary of the project would include the entire city of Perth (Mota et al., 2015).

Perth is situated in western part of Australia with a large portion of it in the Swan Coastal Plain. The region is surrounded by the mighty Indian Ocean and the Darling Range. The area along the Swan River contains the booming Central Business District which accounts for the economic development of Perth and also for the degeneration in the water quality in the area.

Perth is experiencing changing rainfall patterns which is also impacting its water quality. The main sources of drinking water are ground water and rain-fed reservoirs. The changing pattern of rain is resulting in droughts and poor quality of drinking water available.  These geographical conditions of Perth clearly shows that the marine pollution has serious impact on the water resources in the area like the Swan River. This serious problem of degenerating water conditions is lead to the second problem, wide spread diseases among the people, especially the poor people living in the suburbs (Perignon et al., 2017).

The table above shows that the number of deaths in Western Australia including Perth are showing an increase. This figure can be coupled with the increasing pollution and poverty in Perth. Thus, it can be justified from the discussion that the community development program would aim to bring about improvement in the water conditions in Perth to bring down the death amount (Klemes, 2015).

The community development program in Perth would take asset based community development or asset based community development approach. The approach emphasizes on the potential or the assets available in a particular community to deal with an issue it is facing (Green & Haines, 2015). The main characteristics of the ABCD approach are as follows:

  1. The approach focuses on the strengths and resources of a particular community.
  2. The community or the stakeholders play significant role in the area.
  3. The ABCD approach is driven by relationships.

The approach is used to deal with complex environmental problems like climate change because it involves the several groups of stakeholder (newcastle.edu.au, 2018). The approach involves the stakeholder groups collaborating and sharing the resources available to find out sustainable solutions to the problems. These stakeholder groups consist of government bodies, corporate bodies, non-profit making organizations and the public in general (Duan et al, 2017).

The asset based community development approach is usually applied to deal with situations which are complex and requires immense planning. These situations also require immense capital mobilization since they are required to deal with complex problems like environmental challenges. The community development under study which seeks to deal with the threat of degrading water conditions in Perth and resultant deaths among the local community would require collaboration of corporates and the people. The government bodies the most effective organizations which can gain participation from both these stakeholders. The Perth community development program would include the government at three stages. The central Government of Australia, the state government of Western Australia and the local government of Perth. The government would have to play leading role in making the plan of the community development in collaboration with the other stakeholders. The project would proceed according to the environmental laws and policies like the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 made by the government, thus once again making the later the key stakeholder to the project (environment.gov.au, 2018).

Collaboration is Key

The business organizations having their operations in and around Perth would require to contribute towards the success of the community development program. These industrial organizations are the causes of large scale water pollution owing to their manufacturing and mining operations. They sell their products in Perth and other markets which account for their revenue generation. They get a part of their workforces from the region of Perth. They harness the resources of Perth like mineral resources and agricultural produce to continue their manufacturing operations. These factors make them ethically obliged to participate towards conservation of environment of Perth. Thus, the business organizations having their operations in and around Perth have to participate in the community development operations. They have immense knowledge about environment conservation and thus can contribute towards the success of the project (Cayan, et al., 2016).

The community development in question revolving around improvement of water conditions in the Perth region would require mobilization of financial capital. This calls for involvement of banks in the community development programs. The banks like the other business organizations sell their banking products in the region of Perth to generate revenue. They also get a portion of their human resources and investors from Perth, which is one of the most prosperous cities in Australia. These factors just like the business organizations place ethical obligations on the banks to channelize capital towards the project (Watts et al., 2015).

The problem of the degenerating water quality in the Perth is impacting the local pollution of the area. This need of the society would form the basis of the project. The analysis above appears to show that society plays a less important role as a stakeholder but it is not so. The support of the people of the society provides the base to the government on which the later stands and functions. The society is capable of jeopardizing or at least challenging the operations of the business organizations by filing legal cases against them. Thus, the society is the shareholder at the crux and helm of the project (Schaltegger, Hansen & Lüdeke-Freund, 2016).

The engagement strategy of the Perth community development program would be initiated by the government. The government bodies should conduct tests to find out actual condition of ground water in the Perth region, particularly in the suburbs. The bodies should submit a report to the Ministry of Environment, Government of Australia along with the proposed steps which can be taken. The finance department of the ministry should then prepare a budget as to the possible expenditure towards resources which would be spend to implement the budget. The budget after being approved by the concerned ministry should be sent to the banks. The government should then ask for support from the body corporates in terms of technological strengths and knowledge. The government would also require support of the society or the people in general. This is because at the grass root level, the project would require measures like planting of trees and not polluting the water resources. This shows that the engagement strategy of community development project in Perth would initially start with the government and then finally engage the entire society towards its success (Duan et al, 2017).

Role of Government

One can predict that the stakeholder groups recognized above would contribute positively towards the Perth community development project. The involvement of the government would have two impacts as far as the project is concerned. First, the people would have faith in the project owing to the involvement of the government and second, that banks and financial institutions would consider the project profitable (environment.gov.au, 2018).

The outcomes of the project would be improvement in the quality of water available in Perth. The second outcome of the project would be fall in death rates in Perth pertaining to the polluted water.

The project would involve allocation of budget as discussed above. The budget would involve allocation of material and human resources towards the project. The government can involve the other stakeholders in sharing the expenses.

Conclusion:

One can conclude from the discussion that the community development program using the ABCD model would prove helpful in solving the social problems. The government should play significant role in ensuring involvement of financial institutions, body corporates and the society as a whole to execute the project. The following are the recommendations which can be made concerning the project:

The discussion clearly mentions involvement of governments within Australia and corporates functioning in and around Perth. However, it can be recommended that the project should also involve international organizations like the UNESCO and also companies from other regions of Australia. This large scale involvement is capable of offering the project more support, thus making it more sustainable.

It can be recommended that the project should be executed to bring about developments in the water conditions in Perth to benefit the poor who cannot afford purifiers. It should be executed as a mere part of corporate social responsibilities of companies.

References bibliography:

Asset Based Community Development and Pro-poor Asset-based Climate Change Adaptation: Integrating two approaches to a climate change adaptation project in the tenancy sector. (2018). Newcastle.edu.au. Retrieved 21 April 2018, from https://www.newcastle.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/33382/Briefing-Paper-1.pdf

Cayan, D. R., Dettinger, M. D., Pierce, D., Das, T., Knowles, N., Ralph, F. M., & Sumargo, E. (2016). Natural variability, anthropogenic climate change, and impacts on water availability and flood extremes in the Western United States. Water Policy and Planning in a Variable and Changing Climate, 17.

City Maps | City of Perth. (2018). Perth.wa.gov.au. Retrieved 21 April 2018, from https://www.perth.wa.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/city%20of%20perth%20boundary%20ma

Deaths, Year of registration, Summary data, Sex, States, Territories and Australia. (2018). Stat.data.abs.gov.au. Retrieved 21 April 2018, from https://stat.data.abs.gov.au/Index.aspx?DatasetCode=DEATHS_SUMMARY

Department of the Environment and Energy. (2018). Department of the Environment and Energy. Retrieved 21 April 2018, from https://www.environment.gov.au/

Department of the Environment and Energy. (2018). Department of the Environment and Energy. Retrieved 21 April 2018, from https://www.environment.gov.au/resource/local-government-and-australian-environment-law

Duan, K., Sun, G., Zhang, Y., Yahya, K., Wang, K., Madden, J. M., ... & McNulty, S. G. (2017). Impact of air pollution induced climate change on water availability and ecosystem productivity in the conterminous United States. Climatic Change, 140(2), 259-272.

Green, G. P., & Haines, A. (2015). Asset building & community development. Sage publications.

Haque, N., Hughes, A., Lim, S., & Vernon, C. (2014). Rare earth elements: Overview of mining, mineralogy, uses, sustainability and environmental impact. Resources, 3(4), 614-635.

Klemes, J. J. (Ed.). (2015). Assessing and measuring environmental impact and sustainability. Butterworth-Heinemann.

Mota, B., Gomes, M. I., Carvalho, A., & Barbosa-Povoa, A. P. (2015). Towards supply chain sustainability: economic, environmental and social design and planning. Journal of Cleaner Production, 105, 14-27.

Perignon, M., Vieux, F., Soler, L. G., Masset, G., & Darmon, N. (2017). Improving diet sustainability through evolution of food choices: review of epidemiological studies on the environmental impact of diets. Nutrition reviews, 75(1), 2-17.

Poverty. (2018). Supremecourt.wa.gov.au. Retrieved 21 April 2018, from https://www.supremecourt.wa.gov.au/equaljustice/P/poverty.aspx?uid=90-8706-6126-2

Schaltegger, S., Hansen, E. G., & Lüdeke-Freund, F. (2016). Business models for sustainability: Origins, present research, and future avenues.

the plan: Commonwealth city planning systems – Parliament of Australia. (2018). Aph.gov.au. Retrieved 21 April 2018, from https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/B

Watts, G., Battarbee, R. W., Bloomfield, J. P., Crossman, J., Daccache, A., Durance, I., ... & Hess, T. (2015). Climate change and water in the UK–past changes and future prospects. Progress in Physical Geography, 39(1), 6-28.

Western Australia hit hard by post-boom gloom. (2018). ABC News. Retrieved 21 April 2018, from https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-02/perth-poor-not-benefiting-from-post-mining-boom-slowdown/8233170

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