Launched in 2007 by the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM), the Atkins CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the Year competition is an international exhibition for the very best in environmental photography and film. It enables photographers from all over the world to highlight environmental and social issues and looks to educate people of the causes, consequences and solutions to climate change and social inequality. You can visit selected works at the Royal Geographical Society, London from 23rd June to 4th July 2014.
Take a look at some of the finalists below and the powerful messages behind them:
Photographer: Steve Morgan From: West Yorkshire, UK
Image credit: Steve Morgan, Solar 4, 2013
Photographer description: The Gemasolar solar tower power plant in Fuentes de Andalucía, Seville, Spain, is a commercial scale solar plant which in its technological uniqueness opens up the way for new thermosolar electrical generation technology. A circular solar field of 2650 heliostat mirrors covering 185 hectares concentrates the suns energy onto the central receiving tower, where the intense heat generated is stored using molten salt heat storage technology. The heat collected by the salts, capable of reaching temperatures above 5000 C, generates steam and produces electrical power. The surplus heat accumulated during sun hours is stored in the molten-salt tank, allowing Gemasolar to generate electrical power 24 hours a day for many months of the year. The Solar efficiency guarantees electrical production for 6,500 hours a year. This is 1.5 to 3 times more power than other renewable energies. The plant will thus supply clean, safe power to 25,000 homes and reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide emissions by more than 30,000 tons a year.
Photographer: Francesca Moore From: Brighton, UK
Image credit: Francesca Moore, Bhopal: Facing 30 Portrait, 2014
Photographer description: This image is from a two-part Arts Council England funded project, Bhopal: Facing 30, that looks at the people and their environment thirty years after the 1984 Bhopal disaster. In 1984 a pesticide plant in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh suffered a gas leak, exposing over 500,000 people to a toxic chemicals and substances. A government affidavit stated the leak caused 558,125 injuries, including 38,478 temporary injuries, 3,900 permanently disabling injuries and over 8,000 deaths. Everyone photographed in the series has been affected by the disaster. Pictured are Rafiq Uddin (m/39), Saiva Bi (f/36), Rehan Uddin (m/10), Avhan Uddin (m/6), Faizan Uddin (m/4), Saiba Jahan (f/3).
Photographer: Prasanta Biswas From: Kolkata, India
Image credit: Prasanta Biswas, Rainwater collection, 2012
Photographer description: A shortage of drinking water is a regular problem for the rural people of Sundarban, West Bengal, India. The tropical climate has resulted in different physical effects from climate change, including increased temperature and precipitation, increased salinity and extreme weather events such as floods, cyclones and droughts.
Photographer: Luke Duggleby From: Bangkok, Thailand
Image credit: Luke Duggleby, Wrapping a surviving tree, 2013
Photographer description: Cambodian Buddhist monks and local villagers bless one of the remaining large trees in an area destroyed to make way for a banana plantation. Whilst arriving too late to stop the destruction completely, by wrapping an orange cloth around the remaining trees and praying, they are making the trees sacred with the hope to deter future loggers. Following uncontrolled forest destruction in the Central Cardamom Protected Forest (CCPF) in Southwest Cambodia, an eco-warrior monk movement had begun to try and protect areas of forest at risk.
Photographer: Matilda Temperley From: Somerset, UK
Image credit: Matilda Temperley, Basket Centre, 2014
Photographer description: The flooding on the Somerset Levels at Burrowbridge. Numerous properties in the rural areas of Thorney, Muchelney and Burrowbridge in Somerset were hit with up to four feet of water when the nearby River Parrett burst its banks in January 2014.
Photographer: Tuyet Trinh Do From: Hanoi, Vietnam
Image credit: Tuyet Trinh Do, Fishing net making in Mekong Delta, Vietnam, 2012
Photographer description: A group of women weave a fishing net in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam, in preparation for the annual flooding of the river system. Fishing communities rely on this flooding to bring an influx of fish and shrimp to the region. With climate change worsening, flood levels are becoming more inconsistent, which has important consequences for the livelihood of locals. In 2012, lower than average flood levels saw fish yields decrease by 40% on the previous years yield.
Photographer: Kevin McElvaney From: Hamburg, Germany
Image credit: Kevin McElvaney, Adam Latif, 21, 2013
Photographer description: Agbogbloshie in Accra, Ghana is a place where illegal electronic waste trading routes find their end. For more than 10 years, boys and girls between the age of 7 and 25, smash stones against old monitors, use old magnets to collect metal and (most times) burn cables to get the copper from it. Agbogbloshie is one of the largest e-waste dumpsites in the world and more than 400 containers end up here every month. These containers are full of unusable electronics and are falsely labeled as “development aid” or “second hand products”. Almost every worker has heavy headaches, lung problems, eye and back damage and suffer from insomnia. Most of them die from cancer before they are 30 years old. The 40,000 inhabitants themselves nicknamed this place “Sodom and Gomorrah”. For me, Agbogbloshie is a social-economic, ethical and environmental disaster.
Photographer: Ashley Cooper From: Cumbria, UK
Image credit: Ashley Cooper, Coastal erosion near Hornsea, 2013
Photographer description: A collapsed coastal road between Skipsea and Ulrome on Yorkshire’s east coast. The coast is composed of soft boulder clays which are very vulnerable to coastal erosion. This section of coast has been eroding since Roman times, with many villages having disappeared into the sea and is the fastest eroding coast in Europe. Climate change is speeding up the erosion and with sea levels rising, increased stormy weather and increased heavy rainfall events, all playing their part.
Photographer: Alnis Stakle From: Riga, Latvia
Image credit: Alnis Stakle, Shangri-La 1, 2013
Photographer description: A suburb with semi-cleared old buildings in preparation for the construction of new skyscraper precincts in Shanghai.
Photographer: Toufic Beyhum From: London, UK
Image credit: Toufic Beyhum, Supermarket, Himba, 2012
Photographer description: The small seaside resort of Swakopmund lies on the coast of Namibia. It was established in 1892 as the main harbour for Namibia’s German colonizers, and still bears the marks of those years of German rule. For much of the year, Swakopmund lies silently shrouded in fog. But in the summer, the fog lifts, and the tourists flock, drawn to the grand hotels, the moody beach and the bustling cafes. The population is a colourful mix of retired Germans, young natives living in housing projects just outside the main village, and the Himba tribes people who have trekked down from the north, dressed in traditional garb and selling self-made jewellery crafted from found objects. Its uniqueness lies in the massive dunes that line the coast, the rusted wrecks of ships stranded in the desert off the Skeleton Coast; the bright paint work on the houses and the evocativeness of the Himba tribeswomen walking topless through German supermarkets. There’s no other town quite like it.