International research study to shed light on sources of air-polluting dust in India

Jan 15, 2013

A quantitative analysis of dust sources in Delhi by scientists from India, the UK and the USA will provide important new insight into how individual sources of air-borne matter contribute to the overall concentrations measured in the atmosphere.

Air pollution continues to be one of the key global environmental challenges and is widespread in India, with Delhi, most notably, experiencing major problems. The largest public health impact is due to exposure to particulate matter – very fine dust floating in the air. Although the sources of this dust might appear obvious, for example, car and industrial emissions, wind-blown soils, diesel generators etc, little is known in India about how much each source contributes to the concentrations measured in the atmosphere.

Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IIT Delhi), the University of Birmingham in the UK and the Desert Research Institute in Nevada, USA, are collaborating to provide key scientific evidence in this area, which will assist in the development of targeted policy instruments to control air pollution. Air samples will be collected in Delhi and sent to the University of Birmingham for chemical analysis. The Desert Research Institute will then analyse the collected data to estimate the contributions of different air pollution sources. 

Professor Roy M. Harrison, Head of the Group at the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Birmingham, said: "Exposure to particulate matter has for human health but cost-effective abatement measures depend upon a quantitative knowledge of the contributions of different sources in the atmosphere. There is currently insufficient information specific to India so this collaborative research project will provide new, and significant, analysis." 

Dr Mukesh Khare, Professor of Environmental Engineering at IIT Delhi, added: "A source apportionment study of fine particulates in Indian mega cities, like Delhi, has been conducted recently, coordinated by the Central Pollution Control Board, New Delhi. The study provided important insight into the current status of the sources of fine particulates. Yet major gaps in knowledge still exist, mainly with reference to chemical composition of the apportioned fine particulates. In the absence of such data, it becomes difficult to formulate any kind of health assessment studies, and to provide optimal protection to the city dwellers. The current UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI) award will certainly lead to clear outcomes on chemical characterisation of the apportioned fine particles at the selected study site of Delhi city and much improved source apportionment. This will also provide us with systematic methodologies to conduct such studies at urban and regional scales".

Results from the analysis are expected in late 2013.

Explore further: Mining can damage fish habitats far downstream, study shows

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Delhi air quality regulations improve respiratory health

Apr 11, 2011

Recent radical changes in air quality regulations in Delhi, India, have had a substantial positive effect on the health of city residents, according to new research co-authored by Andrew Foster, professor ...

Smog in Indian capital blamed on vehicle increase

Nov 07, 2012

A choking smog that has enveloped New Delhi for more than a week has been partially caused by a rapid increase in vehicles on the streets of India's capital, environmentalists said Wednesday.

WHO to help India probe 'superbug': report

Apr 14, 2011

The World Health Organisation will help India study whether a multi-drug resistant "superbug" allegedly found in New Delhi's water poses a health risk, a report Thursday said.

India's air the worst, says annual study

Feb 02, 2012

India has the worst air quality in the world, poorer even than its neighbour China, according to an annual survey based at Yale and Columbia universities in the United States.

Pregnant mothers at risk from air pollution

Oct 07, 2011

A Californian-based study has looked in detail at air quality and the impact of traffic-related air pollution on premature birth. Published in BioMed Central's open access journal Environmental Health, results from this s ...

Recommended for you

Tool kit for ocean health

1 hour ago

The ocean is undergoing global changes at a remarkable pace and we must change with it to attain our best possible future ocean, warns the head of The University of Western Australia's Oceans Institute.

Researcher studies interactions between land and water

1 hour ago

Early one morning last January, MIT undergraduate Theresa Oehmke was eating breakfast at the Kilauea Military Camp on Hawaii's Big Island when a colleague burst into the room, yelling, "Oh my god, the plume, ...

Geoengineering our climate is not a 'quick fix'

3 hours ago

The deliberate, large-scale intervention in the Earth's climate system is not a "quick fix" for global warming, according to the findings of the UK's first publicly funded studies on geoengineering.

US to propose stricter smog standard

5 hours ago

Coming full circle on a campaign promise, the Obama administration will propose Wednesday to reduce the amount of smog-forming pollution allowed in the air, which has been linked to asthma, lung damage and ...

Sao Paulo drought issue for global concern

5 hours ago

He cast his rod happily here for 30 years—but where a river once teemed with fish, Brazilian fisherman Ernane da Silva these days stares out over a valley of weeds and bone dry, sun-parched land.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.