Air pollution is one of the greatest environmental threats we face in the UK and globally. High levels of pollutants including gases (such as nitrogen dioxide) and particulate matter carry harmful consequences for both human health and the environment. Together, ambient and household air pollution contribute to more than 6 million deaths globally every year, and can also cause damage to crops and ecosystems. More research and evidence are needed to better understand air pollution and inform the changes in policy and people's behaviour that can limit its negative impacts.
Air pollution research requires a huge diversity of expertise which ranges from understanding environmental processes, to monitoring, assessing and addressing impacts of air pollution and associated mitigating policies. Furthermore, it is an issue that is intrinsically linked to other environmental, public health and urbanization challenges. Reducing air pollution will have co-benefits in terms of greenhouse gas emissions and will improve public health and well-being, while urbanization may exacerbate the problem unless we rethink the way we design our cities with public health as a priority.
Our research into air pollution strives to improve understanding with respect to the evolution of human activity and resultant emissions, complex atmospheric chemistry and transport processes, the specific health consequences of exposure to different air pollutants on individuals, new measurement and sensing capabilities and appropriate technologies and policies to mitigate the impacts of air pollution globally.
The Network of Excellence in Air Quality brings together researchers and professional staff working across the Imperial College Faculties of Natural Sciences, Engineering, Medicine and the Business School. We will identify the next big frontiers in air quality research, collaborating across disciplines to deliver new insights. As well as fostering a community within Imperial, the network will also act as a point of contact to facilitate engagement with civil society, policymakers and the media.