South Asian Forum for Environment

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Air Pollution in Citizen-Science Interface

Deteriorating air quality has been considered a major emerging problem in South-East Asian countries due to its direct impact on both health and climate. Recent studies revealed, seven of the world’s ten most polluted cities are in India, killing approximately 1.24 million people in 2017. Kolkata, a metro city in eastern India, recently came into the focus as the most polluted city in India with AQI (PM10) above 430 during winter, 2018. However, for a city with 4.5 million people and a 205 km2 area, Kolkata does not have multiple monitors for air-quality measurement. Therefore, the primary question is how to build capacities in adaptive mitigation for commons. Involving citizens in extended scientific interventions can act catalytically for stimulating mass behavior change and as well in building coordinated action for combating poor air quality. Changing collective behavioral responses is necessary to provoke civic action against elevating air pollutants by building of social capital among different communities. To address the limitations of incognizance about the proper awareness and knowledge gap in Spatio-temporal distribution and source segregation of air pollutants, this intervention attempts to connect the air-pollution source-sink relationship over an urban landscape with health impacts on citizens. Mass scale citizen science program is a core component of this intervention for mitigating the health impact of air pollution. The proposed project will deliver an operational guideline and policy framework at the science-society interface for raising awareness and building strategic mutually beneficial partnerships between citizens, scientists, and policy planners across alike urban landscape.