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For a whiff of fresh air

A U.K. university is addressing the issue of pollution through research and innovation

The University of Birmingham has been challenging and developing great minds for more than a century. Characterised by a tradition of innovation, research at the university has broken new ground, pushed forward the boundaries of knowledge and made an impact on peoples lives. They continue this tradition today and have ambitions for a future that will embed their work and recognition of the Birmingham name on the international stage.

This time the university seeks to extend its research in the field of “Tackling the Challenges of Urban Air Pollution — Linking Research and Policy for Air Quality Improvement” and how cities can better understand and address challenges posed by air pollution.

Air pollution has often been seen as a single dimensional problem of third world countries. However, according to Professor Francis Pope, an expert on the causes and effects of atmospheric pollution, the aim of the research would be to comprehend the problems through multiple standpoints, from the personal to the civil in order to come up with a holistic understanding of this crisis.

The intent

The focus of the research will be double fold in India. Firstly, the research will undertake acute cases of air pollution in India by studying the harms of air pollution in the most vulnerable section of society. “The levels that the street shopkeepers and vendors are exposed to as you might expect were inconceivably high. This makes for a good scope for study especially whose outcome can help generate a change in the current scenario,” said Professor Pope.

Secondly, the research will aim at the economic toll faced by the country due to the rising air pollution which has caused a decline in the tourism industry. “Tourism makes for ten percent of the GDP in India. Tourism is on a decline due to the factor of air pollution and this would be our other undertaking.”

Academics is often considered to be removed from reality but Professor Pope ensures that this research can help to tackle the tricky problem of air pollution in South Asian countries with profound understanding. “This project has application at the heart of it. It is an excellent academic collaboration between the IITs and The University of Birmingham. The students in IITs are of very high quality and will help us ensure good results through these researches,” he said.

According to Professor Pope, the research is a collaboration of academics and policy formulation. It intends to formulate policies through the outcome of research to help the susceptible population afflicted with the problem of air pollution which will help them to become more resilient and ensure their rights in this dire hour.

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