Researchers at Keele University have performed a new study that investigates the use of environmental storytelling as a tool to bring down urban air pollution in India.
Scientists Dr Pawas Bisht and Dr Eva Giraud, from Keele University School of Humanities, and Dr Sabina Kidwai from Jamia Millia Islamia, a leading public university based in New Delhi, have been granted financial support by the British Academy’s Humanities and Social Sciences’ Tackling Global Challenges Program, funded under the UK Government’s Global Challenges Research Fund.
The researchers will engage in the study that involves using novel methods that integrate interviews, media analysis, and participatory storytelling workshops to support the measures to mitigate air pollution in New Delhi, one of the most populous and polluted cities in the world.
India is considered home to 21 out of the 30 most polluted cities in the world, and the Indian government has declared that air pollution is a major problem that demands “immediate attention.”
Moreover, the Covid-19 pandemic has added to the urgent nature of the issue; people with poor respiratory health due to high levels of air pollution, like those living in India’s cities, have been specifically hit hard by the pandemic.
For the project, the researchers will perform three main series of activities, such as analyzing news coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic and its environmental impacts, interviewing environmental and advocacy organizations to gain insights into their present targets and storytelling methods, and creating effective environmental stories via workshops with representatives from civil society organizations and teams of documentary filmmakers.
The project will generate three 10-minute-long films that will be employed to increase public understanding and support to mitigate air pollution, together with a storytelling toolkit that will assist governmental agencies, institutional media, and civil society organizations in improving public engagement with the problem of air pollution.
Combating air pollution is an absolutely vital and urgent challenge in New Delhi. We are looking forward to working with local stakeholders to mobilise the power of creative storytelling in combating this problem.
Dr Pawas Bisht, Lecturer in Media, Culture and Creative Practice, Keele University
The study forms part of Keele University’s Institute for Social Inclusion, the target of which is to address the problems of inequality on a local, national, and global scale.