With climate change and their impact being a much debatable topic nowadays, one of the major culprits for our degrading environmental quality is considered to be air pollution. Thus, it is a matter of deep concern for all developing as well as developed nations to take concrete action towards it, and create a center stage of all challenges particularly by developing nations. Recognizing the urgency of this issue, a team of students and teachers from Daulat Ram College undertook Project Urban Air (DR-309) under the University of Delhi Innovation Project Scheme 2015-16. The aim of the study was to identify the monetary benefits that can be reaped by the citizens of Delhi along with health benefits as a result of reduction in air pollution.
The project was initiated under the guidance of Prof. M.N Murty, and headed by Mrs. Pooja Sharma, Mrs. Prarthna Aggarwal Goel and Mrs. Pooja Jain.
The team of students comprised of the following: Rupeesha Galhotra, Srishti Gupta, Drishti Narula, Phalguni Sanghi, Juhi Dugar, Chitranshi Singh, Pragati, Mansi Goyal and Bhoomi Aggarwal.
The study has been based on primary data collected through extensive surveys across various localities of Delhi. The questionnaire covered various socio-economic and health aspects of the households. Data regarding pollution levels across seasons was also collected from various monitoring stations of CPCB and DPCC. Hence, the results have been formulated to evaluate people’s willingness to pay to reduce air pollution, household production of indoor pollution, health expenditure and the noxious substances like CO, NO2, SO2, PM2.5 and PM10 released in the air, thereby worsening the air quality.
Through the project, the students aim to impart awareness concerning various determinants of air pollution and highlight not only the health impact but also the monetary gain derived from a reduction in pollution. Through this study, the students hope to make a positive impact in the fight against the deteriorating air pollution by making the problem more understandable to the layperson; and also appeal to the relevant authorities to take effective, concrete and long term actions to combat the rising menace.
As a part of the project, on 19th March, 2016 the team organized a seminar on the topic – Air Pollution and Health: Issues, Challenges and Policy – which brought together eminent scholars in the field of health and economics to engage in an enlightening discussion with the students about the given topic. The panel included the project mentor, Prof. M.N Murty (visiting Prof. at Teri University), Dr. Dipankar Saha (Senior Director at CPCB), Chirashree Ghosh (Associate Professor at Department of Environmental Studies, University of Delhi) and Surender Kumar (Professor at Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics).
The team has also published its findings in the DU journal of Undergraduate Research and Innovation titled ‘Air Pollution Reduction and Health Impact Analysis’ (ISSN no: 2395-2334) and presented a paper in the First International conference organised by Academic Fora on the theme ‘Medical, Medicine and Health Sciences’. They will present once again in Jawaharlal Nehru University, in the near future.