GCRF Clean Environment and Planetary Health in Asia (CEPHA) Network

Lead Research Organisation: Indian Institute of Technology Madras
Department Name: Civil Engineering

Abstract

Pollution of the air, water and soil is the largest environmental cause of non-communicable disease and death worldwide, responsible for around 9 million premature deaths annually. The greatest increases in non-communicable diseases are seen in low- and middle-income countries now experiencing epidemics of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Outdoor and indoor air pollution combined account for around 7 million of these deaths, predominantly in developing countries of Asia, particularly India and China.
Environmental pollution affects everyone in society creating a heavy burden on quality of life, productivity and school performance. The underprivileged, including female and children, living and working in polluted environments are more at risk and unable to avoid exposure. Greenhouse gases emitted from the same sources (e.g. motorised transport, waste burning) have an impact on climate, increasing the risk of extreme weather events such as floods and heatwaves. Asian countries are urbanising rapidly and unsustainably, locking their populations in polluting behaviours through inefficient land use planning and poorly designed transport and housing infrastructure.
Environmental pollution is a drain on development, disproportionately affecting underprivileged communities, for example those living in informal settlements, and vulnerable individuals, for example those with respiratory illness. For too long the relationship between prosperity and environment has been seen as a trade-off. Tackling pollution was considered a handicap to economic growth. Growing evidence now shows sustainable development can help improve not only health and the environment, but also the economy. The drive towards cleaner environments and low carbon development, provides a compelling opportunity to realise multiple societal benefits: to improve health and the environment, innovate and become more competitive.
To address the huge development challenge of environmental pollution and non-communicable diseases in Asia, and harness opportunities provided by sustainable development, we propose the engagement network on Clean Environment and Planetary Health in Asia (CEPHA): to catalyse technological and societal innovation through deep engagement across disciplines and sectors that will stimulate transformative changes to business models, government policies and public health practice in Asia. Network outcomes will include long-lasting partnerships, enhanced knowledge exchange and capacity building, and co-creation of projects and resources focusing on actionable solutions to the challenges of improving the environment, decarbonising the economy, and reducing the burden on non-communicable diseases in Asia.
We will identify and promote best practice that has the greatest potential to reduce pollution from different sources (transport, household energy, waste) and related non-communicable diseases, particularly in vulnerable groups (children, female, informal workers). This will be achieved through deep engagement with key stakeholders and communities, awareness raising, capacity building, and generation of income for research and innovation in key areas.
The network will create long-term opportunities for inter-sectoral collaboration and knowledge transfer between and within low and middle-income countries in Asia and the UK. We have assembled an outstanding, well-balanced and integrated team of researchers, policy makers, public health practitioners, industry and the third sector to address this challenge. Importantly, the network will be open to new members and aim to develop a generation of well-connected local champions that will enable the transition to cleaner, more sustainable environments and better health in Asia.

Planned Impact

Who will benefit from this network?
Over 95% of people worldwide live in places where air pollution is over the World Health Organization's guidelines, with exposures to harmful pollutants being the highest in fast growing Asian cities. GCRF Clean Environment & Planetary Health (CEPHA) Network will address the intractable challenge of environmental pollution, compounded by poverty, inequalities, and climate change in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) in Asia. The network will focus on India, China, Thailand, and Malaysia, which will directly benefit from enhanced engagement between researchers, regulators, industry, health professionals, and local communities to tackle environmental pollution and reduce their burden on non-communicable diseases. The primary beneficiaries of this network are:
Citizens living in these polluted environments. Health benefits will be realised from lowered emissions from the most polluting sectors (e.g. transport, industry, waste), and reduced personal exposure. Benefits will be proportionately greater among more disadvantaged people; those in informal settlements and those suffering from respiratory illness, and young children who currently cannot realise their full lung growth potential as they live in very polluted environments. Benefits will reach beyond these 4 countries which will act as exemplars in Asia, potentially benefiting the entire region.
Decision Makers from Local Government, Environmental Protection Agencies, who will be fully engaged in identifying evidence gaps and co-developing actionable solutions that have the greatest potential to protect the environment and provide multiple health and economic co-benefits.
The Health Sector, who are at the receiving end of the emerging epidemic of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Asia exacerbated by environmental pollution and climate change.
Industry and business, who will co-develop innovative technologies and services for environmental and health protection.
Wider Stakeholders, such as service providers, the private and third sectors, who are currently hampered by high pollution levels, traffic congestion, noise, road accidents, all related to the fundamental problem of unsustainable development.
The Research Community at all career stages involved in this network, including physical/social scientists, engineers, and public and environmental health researchers.
How might they benefit from this research?
The population of the core CEPHA countries will greatly benefit from clean air initiatives and more sustainable, low carbon development. Cleaner air (indoor & outdoor) will directly improve people's health, and reduce chronic illness/NCDs, e.g. acute asthma and other lung and heart, and improve quality of life and life expectancy.
Employers, service providers, and businesses will benefit from improved productivity and reductions in lost days due to illness associated with poor air quality. Children and students will benefit from improved educational performance which is linked to healthier environments. The entire population in these LMICs and beyond will benefit by addressing the upstream causes of environmental pollution, through better urban planning, cleaner technologies, and more sustainable patterns of production and consumption.
Females, the very young and elderly people in particular will greatly benefit from improved indoor air quality from using cleaner household fuels and cooking technologies, as they typically spend more time indoors. We will translate and disseminate findings to diverse audiences using a range of approaches/languages, to reach citizens with varying literacy skills, particularly those in informal settlements.
Researchers and practitioners in Asia and UK will benefit from shared learning, training, secondments, workshops, eLearning, eNetworking, and opportunities to publish, attend international conferences, build collaborations and attract funding to progress careers and maximise impact.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Title Community event and exhibition of Creative posters, Essays and Creative Drawings from school children and college undergraduates 
Description We conducted a community event in the world environment day (5th June 2020) with a topic of Conservation of Biodiversity for school children, undergraduates and postgraduates. The total number of participants was 156 Category I: Creative Drawing (Up to 12 years) ; Total Number of participants: 26 Category II: Essay Writing (12-16 years); Total Number of participants: 33 Category III: Creative Poster (Bachelors, Masters and PhD); Total Number of participants: 97 We conducted a community event on the topic of Air Quality Management for school children, undergraduates and postgraduates. The total number of participants was 182 Category I: Creative Drawing (Up to 12 years) • Total Number of participants: 112 Category II: Essay writing (12-16 years) • Total Number of participants: 61 Category III: Creative Poster (Bachelors, Masters and PhD) • Total Number of participants: 9 
Type Of Art Artistic/Creative Exhibition 
Year Produced 2020 
Impact Involvement of school students and college under graduates in the discussions on pressing environmental issues. Spreading awareness and knowledge to the younger minds and encouraging them to participate and raise their voices in all matters through artistic and creative means. 
URL http://cepha.in/world-environment-day-2020/
 
Description Dissemination of technical and scientific knowledge to young researchers, scientists and academicians through monthly lecture series, panel discussions and webinar.
Involvement of school children in community event for creating awareness about air pollution and planetary health through creative writing, drawing and creative poster.
Document and video dissemination of various environmental issues for school children is under progress.
Exploitation Route CEPHA Network is an interdisciplinary/inter-sectoral network comprising partners from academia, public health, industry, government, local authorities, NGOs and local communities with expertise in: (1) Environmental Science and Engineering; (2) Human and Planetary Health & Wellbeing (3) Social Sciences, Economics and Participatory Arts; and (4) Environmental Health Education, Literacy and Advocacy. We will expand on previous efforts to enhance interdisciplinary aspects (particularly social science) and provide a platform for deeper engagement with industry, regulators, practitioners and local communities, including disadvantaged groups.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Environment,Healthcare

URL http://cepha.in/events/
 
Description Non attainment cities
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact CEPHA Network is working along with policy makers of the nation such as, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Central Ministry for Environment and Forest. Indian Institute of Technology (IITM) being a knowledge partner along with CEPHA network aims at improving the Non-attainment cities in India to comply with national standards. The collaboration is expected to improve the air quality nation-wide.
 
Title Sample survey methodology for indoor air quality assessment in rural household kitchens 
Description Questionnaire survey was developed 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2021 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact the survey is being progress is being assessed 
 
Description 5th Indian International Conference on Air Quality Management (IICAQM 2020) 
Organisation Indian Institute of Technology Madras
Country India 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Conducted a half-day workshop and a panel discussion on 'Planetary Health and Clean Environment in Asia -Special focus on Air Pollution' in collaboration with IICAQM 2020. In this event, both delegates and participants had shared their views and experience on air pollution causes and controlling strategies.
Collaborator Contribution The IICAQM Conference aimed to bring together leading academicians, scientists, engineers, and research scholars exchange and share their experiences and research results related to all aspects of air pollution health and exposure assessment and its management. With this aim, IICAQM conference shared a platform with CEPHA network for the half- day workshop and panel discussion.
Impact Activities were planned as the result of this collaboration with IICAQM 2020 in the future
Start Year 2020
 
Description We conducted two Community Events for School Children on the topics of Conservation of Biodiversity and Air Quality Management through Creative Drawing, Essay Writing and Creative Poster 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact We conducted a community event in the world environment day (5th June 2020) with a topic of Conservation of Biodiversity for school children, undergraduates and postgraduates. The total number of participants was 156
Category I: Creative Drawing (Up to 12 years) ; Total Number of participants: 26
Category II: Essay Writing (12-16 years); Total Number of participants: 33
Category III: Creative Poster (Bachelors, Masters and PhD); Total Number of participants: 97
We conducted a community event on the topic of Air Quality Management for school children, undergraduates and postgraduates. The total number of participants was 182
Category I: Creative Drawing (Up to 12 years)
• Total Number of participants: 112
Category II: Essay writing (12-16 years)
• Total Number of participants: 61
Category III: Creative Poster (Bachelors, Masters and PhD)
• Total Number of participants: 9
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL http://cepha.in/world-environment-day-2020/