covidThis study aim is to investigate vulnerable and minority ethnic groups’ perceptions of the relationship between air pollution and health and how this relationship has been impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

The empirical evidence gathered from this research has the potential to contribute to understandings on the acceptability, engagement and impact of current governmental and non-governmental efforts to address the air pollution problem. The outcomes from this research can be used to inform local administrators, public health officers and non- governmental bodies on the development of strategies to engage with communities to communicate air pollution and to stimulate changes in behaviour to reduce exposure.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the very visible use of face masks, the avoidance of public transport and the adoption of social distancing practices have resulted in people thinking more about the quality of the air they breathe, and this increased awareness has created perceived connections between COVID, air pollution and health. Empirical evidence is required to assess the extent to which COVID has influenced people’s perceptions of air quality and the nature of these perceived connections. Understanding BAME’s perceptions of air pollution is important as these may influence behavioural practices and lifestyle choices that have a direct impact on the health and well-being of these disadvantaged communities. The outcomes from this research can be used to inform local administrators, public health officers and non- governmental bodies on the development of strategies to engage with BAME communities to communicate air pollution and to stimulate changes in behaviour to reduce exposure.

The fieldwork for this research will employ a mixed methodology comprising qualitative and quantitative techniques, including ethnography, in-depth interviews, and questionnaire surveys. Beyond standard gathering data methods, the student will also experiment with more innovative and creative ways for data gathering that may be better suited for engaging with diverse vulnerable communities. The aim of adopting this mixed methodology is to achieve an in-depth understanding of people’s perceptions and the reasoning behind them, as well as reaching a suitable sample of people while being able to look for associations between perceptions and other possible variables.

PI:  Dr Diana Varaden