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York pollution levels under scrutiny
YORK is among the cities where pollution levels are to come under the microscope through a 3.5 million euros project launched by one of the city’s universities.
Researchers from the University of York will use new technology to study urban pollution and its impact on people’s health and the environment during a four-year scheme which will analyse the situation in cities across the world, also including Berlin and Seoul.
Cutting-Edge Approaches for Pollution Assessment in Cities (CAPACITIE) has received European Union funding and will involve experts from six university departments, using mobile phones, sampling devices, miniature sensors and robotics to monitor air, water and noise pollution. The university said many of the world’s fastest-growing cities suffer from high pollution levels, which previous studies have suggested causes the premature deaths of more than 150 people in York every year.
CAPACITIE is being led by Alistair Boxall, professor in environmental science and a regular advisor to national and international organisations on the environmental impact of chemicals.
He said: “There is an urgent need to improve our understanding of the factors and processes affecting pollution in cities, and the potential negative impacts on human health and the environment.
“We also need to develop improved approaches for mitigating the effects of a range of pollutants.”
The research team plans to study pollution levels in greater detail than ever before, including in areas where taking samples has previously been difficult.
Professor John Local, the university’s Pro Vice Chancellor for research, said CAPACITIE would help make York “a world-leading centre in pollution monitoring” and the project should trigger more funding for studying the issue and developing new teaching programmes.
Organisations taking part in CAPACITIE, which will fund an extra 12 researcher roles for three years from next March, include City of York Council, Arup, Siemens, IBM and the Seoul Metropolitan Government.
The results will be reported in 2017, when the University of York will also host an international conference on pollution in cities.
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