Determinants of global air pollution exposure

Project Active from to Energy and Sustainable Growth

Air pollution is harmful to health and growing literature suggests it is also harmful to productivity. This project aims to understand the determinants of exposure, that is, concentrations of people living in polluted places. We plan to assess the reduction in exposure that follows from policy interventions affecting urbanisation, power generation, transportation, agricultural burning, and manufacturing.

Our data are based on a regular grid of 5 km cells worldwide. For each grid cell we will observe population and a remotely sensed pollution measure at five year intervals starting in 2000. These data describe the spatial distribution of people, air pollution and their product, `exposure’, and how these distributions evolve over a 15-year study period.

This research seeks to improve the foundations for public health policy surrounding air pollution, looking to answer questions such as: "If we were to spend 100m dollars to improve air quality in India, Rwanda or Brazil, should we focus our attention on agricultural practices, coal fired power, or on the configuration or location of cities?"