BEHAV-I-AIR is a UCC project funded by Science Foundation Ireland which aims to combine technological advances in air quality forecasting with community-engaged design thinking to co-create an air quality communication approach aimed at promoting public awareness and behavioural change around air pollution issues and solutions.
Air pollution is a global health threat and major contributor to climate emissions and. In Ireland, air pollution is largely determined by how we travel and heat our homes (based on EPA air quality 2021 report). Pollutants associated with transport (Nitrogen Dioxide, NO2) and solid fuel heating (Particulate matter, PM2.5, PM10) have a significant negative impact on health (see HSE overview), particularly for vulnerable groups such as children, older people, individuals with respiratory or heart conditions.
Despite the important burden of air pollution on health, the links between behaviour, air quality and health are often invisible to the public. There are also infrastructural, social, and financial barriers that may make it difficult for individuals to engage in less polluting choices. This poses a challenge for creating effective communication strategies to empower citizens to contribute to cleaner air and create a healthy environment for all.
The project team includes Dr. Marica Cassarino (Team Lead, School of Applied Psychology, UCC), Dr. Dean Venables (Co-Lead, School of Chemistry, UCC), Dr. Kevin Ryan (Societal Impact Champion, Environment section, Cork City Council), Dr. Roberto Cibin (PostDoctoral Researcher, UCC), and Mr. Md Rashidunnabi (Research Assistant).
Furthermore, we have established an advisory team to guide the progress of the project, including Cork healthy Cities, Cork Public Participation Network, UCC academics with expertise in Psychology, Healthy behaviours, Human-Computer interaction. We will expand the team to involve other relevant stakeholders, and to work closely with existing groups and organisations in Cork.