Delhi Air Pollution: Health aNd Effects (DAPHNE)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Edinburgh
Department Name: Sch of Informatics

Abstract

DAPHNE is a consortium of doctors, scientists and technologists drawn from 9 institutions (six in India and three in the UK), to study the effect of air pollution in the city of Delhi on the health of pregnant mothers and their new-born children, and asthmatic adolescents. This group is particularly vulnerable because of their greater intake of air with respect to the body weight, and an underdeveloped immunity system; and, also, the adolescents have greater outdoor exposure when travelling to school and during play times. In addition to estimating the amount of suspended particles and gaseous pollution inhaled by subjects using existing networks of stationary air quality monitors and satellite data, the project introduces novel devices worn on the person to measure exposure to suspended particles and noxious gases, and monitor their breathing rate and breathing effort when the subjects are out and about in their everyday lives. This will estimate the impact of air pollution on their asthma and how different levels of activity could contribute to changes in their condition. Biomarkers in samples of blood and urine taken from the subjects will be used as further evidence to estimate the effects of air pollution on changes in their well-being. Finally, a panel of stakeholders drawn from India and the UK will advise on how best the research results can be translated into interventions to help mitigate the effects for the benefit of the citizens of Delhi in the first instance, with potential for world-wide application in the future.

Planned Impact

The DAPHNE research consortium brings together a team with a proven track record of research expertise in air pollution exposure and its impact on health. The primary aim of the DAPHNE is to understand the early life effects of air pollution in Delhi by estimating exposure-response relationships between ambient air pollution exposures and health effects (birth weight, acute respiratory infections in children < 2 years) and asthma exacerbations in adolescents aged 12-18 years. Given the young demography of the population in India and other developing countries, impacts of air pollution in utero and on children will carry serious public health and human resource consequences in the future. Despite the widespread prevalence of high air pollution exposures in developing countries, few cohort studies exist that are devoted to examining the association between long-term air pollution exposures and health outcomes. As a consequence of this study we will better understand the implications for vulnerable groups such as pregnant women, infants and adolescents. Through a better understanding of the contribution of different sources of pollution to people's exposure, more cost-effective reductions in exposure can be targeted to reduce the health burden of air pollution. In concert with results from projects from other Themes in this call, a multi-pronged approach to reducing the burden of disease from air pollution can be developed, both at a macro-level, e.g., source emission reduction, and at a micro-level, e.g., changing behaviours. In practical terms these could be in the form of advisories for asthmatic adolescents personalised to their state of health for the threshold of exertion that they could tolerate for the environmental parameters on the day, or recommendation of routes that that mothers-to-be can take for travel within Delhi.
 
Description MRC-AHRC Global Public Health: Partnership Award
Amount £199,182 (GBP)
Funding ID MC_PC_MR/R024405/1 
Organisation Medical Research Council (MRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2018 
End 08/2019
 
Description PHILAP: Public Health Initiative on LMIC Air Pollution (MC_PC_MR/R024405/1) 
Organisation Centre for Chronic Disease Control (CCDC)
Country India 
Sector Hospitals 
PI Contribution PHILAP is funded by a MRC-AHRC Global Public Health: Partnership Award starting in March 2018 for a period of 18 months. Prof Arvind is the PI on both the DAPHNE and PHILAP projects and PHILAP draws on the existing DAPHNE sensor data collection and analysis infrastructure in Delhi. PHILAP will combine scientific data on personal exposure to air pollution of asthmatic adolescents from deprived areas in Delhi, with qualitative narratives of their experience lived in the margins of society. PHILAP will engage the ethnographic data in productive dialogue with the spatio-temporal personal exposure measurements from wearable sensors to create stylised animation sequences conveying pithy messages on the unequal burden of air pollution in developing countries.
Collaborator Contribution The partners in India and their contributions include :The Institute for Economic Growth (IEG), University of Delhi (Prof. Amita Baviskar is investigating urban environmental politics with a focus on social inequality) ; The School of Design, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (Prof. Nina Sabnani is contributing towards the design of visual narratives which captures the experience of living with asthma in Delhi across different socio-economic classes); Centre for Chronic Disease Control, Delhi (Prof. Prabhakaran will contribute towards correlating disease control with air pollution exposure).
Impact The collaboration started in March 2018 and too early to report outputs or outcomes. The collaboration is multidisciplinary bringing together computer scientists, sociologists, designers, anthropologists, and public health clinicians.
Start Year 2018
 
Description PHILAP: Public Health Initiative on LMIC Air Pollution (MC_PC_MR/R024405/1) 
Organisation Indian Institute of Technology Bombay
Country India 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution PHILAP is funded by a MRC-AHRC Global Public Health: Partnership Award starting in March 2018 for a period of 18 months. Prof Arvind is the PI on both the DAPHNE and PHILAP projects and PHILAP draws on the existing DAPHNE sensor data collection and analysis infrastructure in Delhi. PHILAP will combine scientific data on personal exposure to air pollution of asthmatic adolescents from deprived areas in Delhi, with qualitative narratives of their experience lived in the margins of society. PHILAP will engage the ethnographic data in productive dialogue with the spatio-temporal personal exposure measurements from wearable sensors to create stylised animation sequences conveying pithy messages on the unequal burden of air pollution in developing countries.
Collaborator Contribution The partners in India and their contributions include :The Institute for Economic Growth (IEG), University of Delhi (Prof. Amita Baviskar is investigating urban environmental politics with a focus on social inequality) ; The School of Design, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (Prof. Nina Sabnani is contributing towards the design of visual narratives which captures the experience of living with asthma in Delhi across different socio-economic classes); Centre for Chronic Disease Control, Delhi (Prof. Prabhakaran will contribute towards correlating disease control with air pollution exposure).
Impact The collaboration started in March 2018 and too early to report outputs or outcomes. The collaboration is multidisciplinary bringing together computer scientists, sociologists, designers, anthropologists, and public health clinicians.
Start Year 2018
 
Description PHILAP: Public Health Initiative on LMIC Air Pollution (MC_PC_MR/R024405/1) 
Organisation University of Delhi
Country India 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution PHILAP is funded by a MRC-AHRC Global Public Health: Partnership Award starting in March 2018 for a period of 18 months. Prof Arvind is the PI on both the DAPHNE and PHILAP projects and PHILAP draws on the existing DAPHNE sensor data collection and analysis infrastructure in Delhi. PHILAP will combine scientific data on personal exposure to air pollution of asthmatic adolescents from deprived areas in Delhi, with qualitative narratives of their experience lived in the margins of society. PHILAP will engage the ethnographic data in productive dialogue with the spatio-temporal personal exposure measurements from wearable sensors to create stylised animation sequences conveying pithy messages on the unequal burden of air pollution in developing countries.
Collaborator Contribution The partners in India and their contributions include :The Institute for Economic Growth (IEG), University of Delhi (Prof. Amita Baviskar is investigating urban environmental politics with a focus on social inequality) ; The School of Design, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (Prof. Nina Sabnani is contributing towards the design of visual narratives which captures the experience of living with asthma in Delhi across different socio-economic classes); Centre for Chronic Disease Control, Delhi (Prof. Prabhakaran will contribute towards correlating disease control with air pollution exposure).
Impact The collaboration started in March 2018 and too early to report outputs or outcomes. The collaboration is multidisciplinary bringing together computer scientists, sociologists, designers, anthropologists, and public health clinicians.
Start Year 2018
 
Description An invited article in the New Statesman magazine supplement (published on 4 November, 2017) entitled "Air Pollution: the fight for clean cities". 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Professor D K Arvind was invited to contribute an article for a New Statesman supplement entitled "Air pollution: the fight for clean cities". This was one of four contributed articles including one by the mayor of London, Mr. Sadiq Khan. The New Statesman has a circulation of 35,000 for the print version and in June 2016 there were 5,393,792 visitors and 4,091,832 unique visitors to the New Statesman website and 27,291,666 pageviews.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.newstatesman.com/sites/default/files/ns_clean_cities_supplement_nov_2017.pdf
 
Description Expert Panel on Air Pollution broadcast on national television (NDTV) in New Delhi, India on 4th December, 2017. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Professor Arvind was invited to join, as an expert, a discussion panel on air pollution in Delhi broadcast on national television (NDTV) on Monday 4th December on the prime-time "Buck stops here" programme. The air quality in Delhi during this period was particularly bad and a hot topical issue as a touring cricket team playing a test match in Delhi had to withdraw due to the adverse health effect on the players. The TV appearance was followed by interview requests from national newspapers resulting in 15 articles in English language newspapers. This was an opportunity to highlight the DAPHNE project which is researching the health effects of air pollution in Delhi.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.ndtv.com/video/sports/the-buck-stops-here/pollution-halts-india-sri-lanka-test-delhi-air...
 
Description Use of the Airspeck personal exposure monitor in a TV programme "Fighting for Air", screened nationally on BBC2 on the 10th January 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The AirSpeck monitor was used in the filming of a case study looking at the effects of exposure to air pollution on health parameters of the the TV presenter, Xand van Tulleken. The TV programme, "Fighting for Air", was screened nationally on BBC2 on the 10th January 2018.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018