The Breath and Depth of Solutions

The World Health Organization has identified air pollution as a major threat to human health. The UNC Institute for the Environment has joined forces with UNC’s school of medicine and public health to become an international leader in efforts to improve air quality and public health.

One example: In partnership with the U.S. EPA, scientists in our Center for Environmental Modeling for Policy Development have created a Web tool that enables local policymakers to plug various scenarios into Google Maps to predict the impact of transportation emissions on their communities. Examples include the health implications of widening a road or building a school near a major highway.

“We have about 45 million people who live near a major highway in the U.S. We needed a tool to assess exposure risk patterns for people who live next to roadways. Children are more vulnerable to air pollution, and there are two million school children living within 200 meters of a major highway.” said Dr. Sarav Arunachalam.

In addition to creating tools to inform public policy, we train scientists throughout the world on how to use air quality modeling to study the formation, transport and health effects of air pollution. These models help scientists to aid the public in areas like emissions and storm surge predictions.

At the UNC Institute for the Environment, we are working to improve air quality across the world. We invite you to join us as we continue to make progress on a global scale.