UK experts launch project to tackle Delhi air pollution risks
Indian and British experts are joining hands on a project to help tackle health problems associated with air pollution in Delhi, which affect some 46 million people in and around the country’s capital city. With air pollution levels at times up to 30 times greater than those found in the UK, Delhi was rated the most polluted city in the world for ambient air pollution by World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2014. Involving leading researchers from universities in India and the UK, the team put together by Birmingham air pollution experts will investigate the causes of pollution in the Indian capital city, which is home to some 18 million people, a release by the Birmingham University said today.
‘ASAP-Delhi: An Integrated Study of Air Pollutant Sources in the Delhi National Capital Region’ is supported by a 1.4 million pound grant from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Medical Research Council (MRC) Air Pollution and Human Health programme. Led by the University of Birmingham, the team involves experts from the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, the Indian National Physical Laboratory and the University of Surrey. “This project will allow us to definitively quantify the contributions of different sources to fine particles in Delhi’s air – a key step to solving this problem,” Professor Mukesh Khare, from IIT Delhi, said.
Experts will measure airborne particulate matter and analyse how the pollution is being generated. Results from this work will feed into other research projects in a wider NERC programme and be used to help efficiently reduce pollution levels and improve population health. “Some 46 million people live in and around Delhi and extremely high particulate matter levels are responsible for damaging citizens’ health and the environment, leaving many people unable to work, which has significant economic implications for the region,” said Professor William Bloss, Head of the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Birmingham.
“As a global ‘civic’ university, the University of Birmingham looks to enrich the life of both our home city and others globally. This partnership in Delhi chimes with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Smart Cities Mission to make India’s cities citizen-friendly and sustainable.” Bloss added that many Asian countries, including India, were undergoing rapid industrial development and urbanisation, leading to sharp increases in population exposure to poor air quality in cities mainly fine and ultrafine particles. “We’ve designed the project to better understand the sources of the most dangerous air pollutants in Delhi,” Bloss said. “It partners leading researchers from India and the UK and will allow us to assess the likely effectiveness of changes in behaviour for example odd/even number plate traffic bans to improve air quality.