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DPSIR is a conceptual framework for assessing impacts on the environment. It can be used to assess impacts from processes, polices, projects . . .  any number of new concepts or changes introduced in to the environment. It is a handy tool when discussing environmental of social impacts.

Unlike a linear framework (source as source-pathway-receptor) the DPSIR model can be used to describe interactions, and the model can be "started" using any one of the 5 categories within. For example; you could investigate causes (pressures) on low soil quality (states) after discovering cadmium in soils. Or you could investigate effect of legislating (Response) against use of cadmium on industry (Drivers), and onwards affects on soil quality (State)


DPSIR Model Components

The five components of the DPSIR model are shown below. Following a description of each component there is an example component based on


Drivers are considered as process or "thing" that pressures arise from. This could be industry, tourism or economic growth.

Example: The Maldives enjoy high numbers of tourists visiting each year.


Pressures include affects from drivers of responses, such as pollution, land use change and population growth.

Example: The Maldives has a persistent problem dealing with its waste. Creating pollution in places like Thilafushi Island.


Sates are measurable environmental and social indicators such as water qualitysoil qualityair qualityhabitatvegetation.

Example: Improper storage of wastes on Thilafushi Island contaminate land, and allow plastics to enter the ocean.


Impacts are the losses suffered:  ill public health, habitat fragmentation, economic crisis, environmental damage, biodiversity loss.

Example: Burning of waste on Thilafushi Island will create health impacts in local populace. It damages marine habitats (that tourists come to visits), and any plastic entering oceans breaks down (micro plastics) and poison sea creatures (Phthalates).


Responses will include taxes or environmental laws, they might also include behavioral training.

Example: The Maldives Government might introduce a plastic tax, they might also introduce a law banning the use of single use plastics.

The Real Value of DPSIR

The above example sees a set of components built around one problem, namely tourism waste. However, in reality the problem is much broader, and far more complicated. This is why DPSIR is useful because it encourage interaction.

For example by responding (Response) to the waste problem with a tax and a ban, there will be an immediate jump to find other materials (such as paper or card). This will then shift pressures from The Maldives to nearby sources of wood pulp (maybe Madagascar) and Impacts there such as bio-diversity loss.