People crossing a busy road in the rainThe Environmental Health theme will include identification of pollution sources, impact on human health, monitoring and mitigation strategies, policy and regulation or pollution types such as air pollution and water pollution. The activities in this theme all involve interdisciplinary approaches. For example, air pollution research requires the integration of expertise across a wide range of disciplines from human exposure science, environmental toxicology and epidemiology, atmospheric chemistry and physics, modelling, economics, to social and behavioural sciences; mitigation strategies require engineering innovation and systems monitoring and control.

Air quality

Air pollution is one of the greatest environmental threats we face today. High levels of pollutants including gases and particulate matter carry harmful consequences for both human health and the environment. More research and evidence are needed to better understand air pollution and inform the changes in policy and behaviour that can limit its negative impacts. Taking a holistic view can help us understand co-benefits of solutions to pollution. For example, switching to active travel like walking and cycling reduces vehicle pollution but also has positive impacts on human health.

Imperial researchers are working to tackle air pollution and improve air quality for all through the Network of Excellence in Air Quality. From looking at the environmental and social drivers that make people choose to walk in cities to studying the air quality of London’s parks and playgrounds and using physics to understand the impact of pollution on personal health in urban environments.

The Environmental Research Group led by Professor Frank Kelly is part of the School of Public health and a leading provider of air quality information and research in the UK, combining air pollution science, toxicology and epidemiology to determine the impacts of air pollution on health and the causal factors.