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Global Health Histories Seminar 119 - Air pollution: Local contexts, universal effects

Wednesday 6 March 2019, 12.30PM

Speaker(s): Dr Cressida Bowyer (University of Portsmouth) & Dr Pierpaolo Mudu (WHO European Centre for Environment and Health), Dr Mark Reacher (Public Health England)

Livestream/further information link:

Air pollution represents a global problem, contributing to chronic illness and mortality. This seminar will examine the cultural drivers of increased air pollution and state and community-based responses to the problem.

Global Health Histories Seminar 119 Poster

In Africa, as well as reducing life expectancy air pollution lowers the quality of life through respiratory and cardiovascular diseases often leading to a reduction in people’s resilience and productivity. Levels of air pollution are particularly high in informal settlements, both outdoors and indoors. Attempts to improve air pollution and reduce people’s exposure to it have been introduced in Nairobi’s informal settlements in recent years, including awareness raising campaigns. Dr Cressida Bowyer (University of Portsmouth) will discuss results from the recently formed AIR Network which has brought together researchers from different disciplines, and people who live and work in the informal settlements, to discuss the issues, raise awareness and consider potential solutions. 

Local authorities in the East of England were surveyed in 2017 and 2018 about their authority’s policies and actions to mitigate urban air pollution and promote healthful urban environments using a questionnaire derived from guidance from NICE, DEFRA, Living Streets and Transport for London. Dr Mark Reacher will explore the main themes from the surveys and share the experience of building a Regional working group to support local authorities to mitigate outdoor air pollution and promote healthful environments.

This event is part of the 2019 Culture and Health series, a collaboration between the Division of Information, Evidence, Research and Innovation at WHO/Europe and 2 WHO collaborating centres, the Centre for Global Health Histories at the University of York and the Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health at the University of Exeter. 

Location: RCH/017, Ron Cooke Hub, University of York

Admission: Admission: Free and open to all – please register for a free ticket at