Event Report - Air pollution: Local contexts, universal effects

Posted on 13 March 2019

A report on 6 March's GHH seminar on this pressing health topic

Air pollution is a major risk to health, reducing life expectancy and lowering quality of life, and it’s arguably an issue affects everyone. On 6th March 2019, Global Health Histories Seminar 119 examined the cultural drivers of increased air pollution, and the state and community-based responses to the problem. The recording of this event is now available on CGHH's YouTube channel.

Through their presentations the speakers Dr Cressida Bowyer (University of Portsmouth), Dr Pierpaolo Mudu (WHO European Centre for Environment and Health), & Dr Mark Reacher (Public Health England) thought through the problems associated with air pollution (and not just outdoor pollution and emissions from vehicles and industry), as well as the pressing question of how to engage people and politicians on this topic?

Cressida Bowyer began the seminar with an overview of the AIR Network project, which has used art to tackle air pollution. Pierpaolo Mudu then reflected on the the importance of risk communication of air pollution effects and dscribed the role that citizen science can play in relation to pollution. The presentation section of the event was brough to a close by Mark Reacher who presented insights into local authority surveys about policies and actions to mitigate urban air pollution. This was followed by disucssion and questions from the audience in the room and those who had tuned into the live broadcast.

This seminar was the second event in the 2019 Culture & Health Webinar series, which seeks to draw together interdisciplinary panels of speakers to examine the historical and cultural contexts of current global health issues, to think through the different ways these can be addressed, and to use these discussions to help the global health community respond to present-day challenges. The webinars are a collaboration between the Division of Information, Evidence, Research and Innovation at WHO/Europe and two 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. The series is funded and supported by the Wellcome Trust.