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Analysis of marine environmental problems in a rapidly urbanising coastal area using the DPSIR framework: a case study in Xiamen, China

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Coastal regions are among the most rapidly urbanising places in the world. Rapid urbanisation along the inland coast, if not planned properly, may cause severe environmental consequences. Such situations are particularly true for China due to its rapid economic and social development. We used the Drivers–Pressures–State–Impact–Responses (DPSIR) conceptual framework to assess the factors that contribute to the degradation of the marine environment adjacent to Xiamen, which is one of the most rapidly developing coastal cities in China. Based on the DPSIR conceptual framework, we selected representative indicators to resolve the complicated cause and effect relationships associated with environmental problems. Furthermore, local responses, such as marine functional zoning, and pollution and waste management, were taken as triggers to drive the DPSIR cycle again to further analyse the effects of local response initiatives or activities for decision makers and stakeholders. Finally, we conclude that considerable progress in improving the analysis system could be achieved by establishing a unified information sharing system, by improving indicator development for marine environmental problem assessment, and by geographically and functionally expanding management initiatives to the regional level, including watershed areas.
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Keywords: DPSIR framework; Xiamen; coastal area; marine environmental problems; urbanisation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Environmental Science Research Center, Xiamen University, Xiamen, 361005, P. R. China

Publication date: June 1, 2013

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