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Outdoor air pollution in rural India

Research, Environment1 min read

Authors: Nikhil Srivastav, Sangita Vyas

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Exposure to air pollution has important consequences for public health. In January 2017, we visited Reusa, a block in Uttar Pradesh, to investigate pollution-generating activities and the policies that aim to mitigate them in rural areas.

We found many sources of outdoor pollution in Reusa, including burning biomass for cooking and heat, crop-burning, and rural industry and electricity generation. Some of these pollution-generating activities have not been addressed by policy at all, and the policies that do exist have either not been designed effectively, or are not implemented well.

The findings of this study suggest that people living in rural areas could be exposed to high levels of ambient air pollution. To better understand the threat posed by ambient pollution in rural India, and ultimately to better address it, more research on human exposure and ground-level monitoring in rural areas is urgently needed.


r.i.c.e. is a non-profit research organization focused on health and well-being in India. Our core focus is on children in rural north India. Our research studies health care at the start of life, sanitation, air pollution, maternal health, social inequality, and other dimensions of population-level social wellbeing.

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