Air pollution: impact and interventions

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Clean air is a fundamental requirement for the existence of life on earth. However, with the rapid rate of economic development, globalization, and increasing energy demand, large amount of emissions and waste are generated, leading to severe air pollution. This paper surveys the literature to provide an overview of the impact of air pollution on various aspects of human life. The impact is categorized broadly into health and socio-economic aspects and further subcategorized into multiple dimensions of health and socio-economic consequences. The survey reveals that the impact of air pollution is comprehensive, ranging from chronic to life-threatening diseases, and from malfunctioning of specific organ systems to subjective well-being. Additionally, evidence of the impact of air pollution on unexpected dimensions such as housing prices, larger economy, academic outcomes, and more is uncovered, leaving no doubt on the need to address this problem with the attention of the highest order. This evidence can be used to trigger more research and give policy-makers a starting point for clean-air campaigns. Merely highlighting the seriousness of the issue is not enough, and hence the paper also surveys the broader literature to identify interventions for clean air developed by public and private stakeholders across the world. While none of them may be ripe for blind duplication, this paper aims to provide decision-makers and researchers a bouquet of solutions to choose from while developing clean air programs and research agenda.

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This study is funded by the Centre of Excellence for Research on Clean Air (CERCA), IIT Delhi with project number MI01802. We would like to thank them for their support. The authors would also like to thank Amit Ranjan Verma (Project Scientist, CERCA, IIT Delhi) for his valuable suggestions and help in this study, and Prem Chand and Rama Shankar for carrying out project-related work.

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Correspondence to Deepak Gautam.

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Gautam, D., B. Bolia, N. Air pollution: impact and interventions. Air Qual Atmos Health (2020).

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  • Air pollution
  • Impact
  • Interventions
  • Health hazards
  • Clean air
  • Abatement