Participatory Environmentalism: Mobilising citizens for air pollution mitigation and improved environmental health in India

Last changed: 03 April 2023

The project examined the conditions which enable citizens to become actively engaged in pollution control for improved environmental health.

It did this by enabling research participants to monitor household air pollution levels for a better understanding of local sources of pollution and personal exposure. Low cost pollution monitors offer new possibilities for people to link personal health effects directly to pollution. The result in improved knowledge of what pollution is and where it comes from is expected to support community mobilisation to mitigate pollution.

This project drew on citizen science approaches to environmental governance to open up for participatory environmental management. Three empirical settings were selected as case studies across India with a combination of urban, industrial and rural forms of pollution and socio-political settings.

Data collection methods were air pollution measurements, an environmental health survey and ethnographic methods. The project added to our understanding of the factors which support citizens becoming active in pollution control and management activities. Active citizens are expected to be able to press for wide-ranging public health improvements, and open up for participatory decision-making processes on environmental matters at the moment dealt with in closed, expert-controlled settings with significant political interventions.