An expert panel gathered at the Society last week to discuss the challenge of poor air quality, in the latest in the Society’s 21st Century Challenges discussion series.
Air pollution has been in the news a lot this year, with Saharan dust settling over the UK, Oxford Street declared the most polluted in the world and Paris banning half its cars over pollution fears. And with 3 billion people around the world cooking on open fires, it is an ever-present danger in homes as well, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) attributing 3.7 million premature deaths worldwide to indoor air pollution, more than AIDs and Malaria combined.
Chaired by Fred Pearce, journalist, author, and, environment consultant for New Scientist, the panel comprised of Frank Kelly, Professor of Environmental Health at King’s College London, whose research interests include the impact of atmospheric pollution on human health; environmental lawyer James Thornton, whose organisation ClientEarth, took the UK government to court after it failed to meet EU clean air limits in 2010; and social entrepreneur Sarah Collins creator of Wonderbag, a heat-retaining non-electric slow-cooker that has the potential to dramatically reduce fuel use and indoor air pollution for those cooking on open fires – more than 600,000 Wonderbags have now been distributed in Africa.
The panel discussed a wide range of issues concerning air quality with the audience, and what steps can, and are being taken to improve the situation for all. As with all of the 21st Century Challenges, a video recording of the event is now freely available online.
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