Formas grant to Swedish project on Air Pollution Mitigation in India

On Thursday 9 November 2017, Dr. Patrik Oskarsson from the Division of Rural Development at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) in Uppsala was awarded SEK 3.0 m as a three-year grant from the Formas’ Scientific Council in Stockholm. He is one of 53 Swedish researchers with successful applications for the Formas 2017 programme on ”Research and Development Projects to Future Research Leaders” (more information).  Formas funds research for an ecologically, economically and socially sustainable development. The mission of Formas is to promote and support basic and needs-driven research in the areas of the Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning. The research funded should be of highest scientific quality and relevance for Formas’ areas of responsibility.
Patrik’s project is entitled ”Participatory Environmentalism: Mobilising Citizens for Air Pollution Mitigation and Improved Environmental Health in India” and will be carried out in collaboration with Dr Devanshi Chanchani, previously at East Anglia University, UK, but currently without institutional affiliation. Additionally, Professor T. Sundararaman at TISS in Mumbai is assisting the project on a concultancy basis.
Abstract: This proposal examines the conditions which enable citizens to become actively engaged in pollution control for improved environmental health. It does 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 resulting improved knowledge of what pollution is and where it comes from is expected to support community mobilisation to mitigate pollution. This project draws on citizen science approaches to environmental governance to open up for participatory environmental management. Three empirical settings are selected as case studies across India with a combination of urban, industrial and rural forms of pollution and socio-political settings. Data collection methods are air pollution measurements, an environmental health survey and ethnographic methods. The project is expected to add 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.

It should also be noted that Patrik Oskarsson recently was involved in editing a special section of the peer-reviewed magazine South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies along with Dr. Siddharth Sareen from the University of Bergen, Norway. The specila section is entitled ”Discourse and Resource Conflict in Extractive Zones of India”, and includes interesting articles not only by the two editors themselves, but also other eminent researchers such as Kenneth Bo Nielsen, University of Oslo.