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Durham University

Durham University News

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Protecting people from hazards

(14 December 2020)

Our researchers are helping people to prepare for disasters, protect future generations from pollution, and are working to make cross-border trading safer.

And now we’ve received over £5 million funding to tackle some of the world’s toughest issues.

A healthier future

Particulate air pollution (PAP) is made up of tiny dust particles that pollute the air. This type of pollution is a particular issue for children because there is a direct link between pollution and developing respiratory disease in later life.

Durham’s Professor Claire Horwell is leading a project with a team of researchers in Nepal and Indonesia to assess how effective different exposure reduction practices, such as wearing masks, are for children.

The research will help to find the most appropriate ways to protect against PAP, inform local policies and, ultimately, help future generations to lead a healthier life.

Reducing fears about trade corridors

The funding is also supporting our researchers to improve cross-border trading relations.

An initiative led by China aims to create new infrastructure to promote trading between the country and the edge of Europe.

But fear of these developments and demands to ‘take back control’ in some countries in this region are stoking economic, political and cultural unrest.

Starting in Belarus and Uzbekistan, Professor Mike Crang and other universities will work with local people to understand existing issues and review how authorities engage with local people on infrastructure changes.

Our aim is to help ensure local communities are more involved in these changes, and to ensure governance around infrastructure considers different cultural contexts.

Rural risks

Around one billion people who are living in mountainous areas face daily risks from earthquakes, landslides, and monsoons.

Professor Alex Densmore is working with a team in Nepal, Canada, and New Zealand to prepare for, and respond, to those risks.

Building on long-term work with Nepali communities, Alex and the team will develop new data and evidence to inform decision-making, and establish routes for getting important information to those who need it when disasters hit.

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