Driving force-Pressure-State-Impact-Response (DPSIR) model for State of the Environment Reporting (SoER)
The State of the Environment (SoE) monitoring and reporting process is an important tool for environment planning and management in Punjab. It plays a vital role in policy development and informs decision-makers of the consequences of actions and changes in the environment. It involves setting targets, monitoring, analysing and interpreting data, then reporting findings, and continuing this process over time. The SoE Report process streamlines national and international monitoring and reporting requirements to ministries, donors, and the Secretariats of MEAs. For SoE reporting, the future ‘Strategy and Policy Department of Environment Protection and Climate Change Department’ will use Driving force-Pressure-State-Impact-Response (DPSIR) model  for greater details in order to design environmental monitoring programmes for Punjab in a cost-effective way.
The D-P-S-I-R Model will help the department to support decision making through the provision of credible environmental information. This will also help to present the environmental indicators needed to provide feedback to policy makers on environmental quality and the resulting impact of the political choices made, or to be made in the future (Fig. 1).
The D-P-S-I-R Model defines;
- Driving forces to environmental changes, (e.g. population growth)
- Pressures on the environment, (e.g emissions of CO2 to the atmosphere, tn/year)
- State of the Environment, (e.g concentrations PM 2.5 in ug/m3 in a city air as 24 hour average)
- Impacts to human health and ecosystems and (e.g outpatient cases of Lung Disease in Lahore)
- Responses to mitigate the pressures (e.g compulsive orders given to industries on exceed of EQS’s in emissions of particles per year in Lahore)
Fig. 1 exhibits a chain of links starting with ‘driving forces’ (economic sectors, human activities) through ‘pressures’ (emissions, waste) to ‘states’ (physical, chemical and biological) and ‘impacts’ on ecosystems, human health and functions, eventually leading to political ‘responses’ (prioritisation, target setting, indicators).
For a comprehensive State of Environment Reporting of Punjab, the D-P-S-I-R Model will consider the following components;
1. Driving forces – What are the factors that driving environmental change in Punjab?
The department will examine the main factors that generate the pressures on the environment, particularly those associated with changes in population and economic activity. Driving force could be the social, demographic and economic developments in societies and the corresponding changes in life styles, overall levels of consumption and production patterns. A primary driving force could be demographic development whose effects are translated through related land use changes, urban expansion, industry and agriculture developments, energy consumption, and transportation.
2. Pressures on the environment – What are the stresses on the Environment of Punjab?
The Pressures are the effects of driving forces on the environment. Examples of pressure indicators could be the emission of nutrients and pesticides by agriculture, production of waste or emissions (of chemicals, waste, radiation, noise) to air, water and soil.
3. State of the Environment – What is the Quality of the Environment of Punjab?
As a result of pressures, the ‘state’ of the environment (a combination of the physical, chemical and biological conditions) is affected. State defines the quality of the various environmental components (air, water, soil, etc.) in relation to their functions. Examples of the indicators could be Air quality (at provincial/divisional/district level), Water quality (surface water, groundwater, drinking water), - Ecosystems (biodiversity, vegetation, forests, protected areas), soil quality and Human health.
4. Impacts to human health and ecosystems – What are consequences of changes in state of the environment on the economy and citizens of Punjab?
Impacts are the physical, chemical or biological changes in state of the environment that influences the quality of ecosystems, their life supporting abilities, and ultimately impact on human health and on the economic and social performance of society.
5. Responses to mitigate the pressures – How the Government of Punjab are reacting to these consequences and how does the response affect the drivers in the future?
Response encompasses of what is being done, how effective is it and what actions could be taken for a more sustainable future. It also covers a response by society or policy makers as a result of an undesired impact and can affect any part of the chain P-S-I. For instance, a response related to driving force like transportation could be a policy to change mode of transportation from private (cars) to public transport (metro buses or trains). A response related to pressures could be revision of hazardous waste rules or development of a strong action/implementation plan to reduce the pressure.
This comprehensive framework for state of environment monitoring and reporting will bring transparency, informed environmental information and decision making, enhanced communication between scientists and stakeholders by simplifying the complex connections between humans and the environment and increased public awareness.
The statistical framework supporting DPSIR for SoE Monitoring and Reporting is summarized in Fig. 2.
- The DPSIR model is a global standard for State of Environment reporting and part of a systems approach that takes into account social, political, economic, and technological factors, as well as forces associated with the natural world. This framework for integrated environmental reporting and assessment was developed by the European Environmental Agency (EEA) in 1999 and has since been widely adopted in the study of environmental problems. This approach has proven to have utility in understanding the genesis and persistence of environmental problems at scales ranging from the global (United Nations Environment Programme. 2002. Global Environment Outlook 3: Past, present and future perspectives. London: Earthscan)