Spotlight: Dr. Lynn Mazzoleni

20180729_173820Dr. Mazzoleni is an Associate Professor of Chemistry and the Co-Director of the Chemical Advanced Resolution Methods (ChARM) Laboratory at Michigan Tech. Her primary research interests are focused on the identification of organic aerosol constituents from various atmospheric environments with a special interest in biomass combustion and aqueous phase chemistry. Dr. Mazzoleni’s research group studies atmospheric complex mixtures using mass spectrometry, liquid chromatography, and data science methods.

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A short Q&A with Dr. Mazzoleni:

Welcome to India! What brings you here? Is this your first visit? 

Thanks for the warm welcome. My spouse, Claudio Mazzoleni and I, participated in three scientific activities and did some sightseeing over about 2.5 weeks. First, we participated in a GIAN sponsored workshop. The course was a lot of fun! We managed to have lots of time for informal interactions (tea breaks, lunches, and time before/after sessions) to get to know the students. We visited a local high school for a science symposium with kids. The kids asked lots of questions and seem to be inspired by the event/interaction. Finally, we participated in an International Symposium. These activities were organized by our host, Dr. Ravi Varma of NIT Calicut.

Yes, it was my first visit to India and I can say that the first few days were a bit overwhelming for me because of the culture shock. I knew that Indians drove on the left, but I didn’t know about their driving culture. 🙂 I also was surprised by the obvious lack of public infrastructure (roads, sidewalks, parking areas, drinking water, and other things that I’ve generally taken for granted in the US). Despite this, I saw that Indians are very resilient, humble, and compassionate. I can’t fully describe the emotion that this combination of observations stirs within me, but it’s overall very optimistic.

Can you tell us a little bit about the NIT-Calicut meeting? What was the objective?

The primary objective of both meetings was education/dissemination of research knowledge. The GIAN sponsored course included mainly Ph.D. students with some junior faculty/researchers from nearby and far away places. The International Symposium included several junior faculty and several other senior faculty speakers from other institutions. The actual turnout of expert lecturers was less than originally intended due to insufficient funds for supporting international travel, but several people participated despite this limitation. We had speakers and participants from China, Nepal, Israel, Canada, France, USA, and India.

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How was your personal experience vis-a-vis the air quality in India?

The monsoon was fairly intense during my stay in Kerala, so the air quality was very likely much better than usual. However, I observed a lot of high emitters on the road (tucks, auto rickshaws, buses, and other older vehicles). Fortunately, the standard practice of my hosts was to keep the car vent on recirculate, so it wasn’t too bad. I also observed trash burning beside the road and noticed a large smoke plume at some point, which I assumed was from trash burning. Perhaps the bigger surprise was the indoor air quality. I felt uncomfortable in some indoor spaces because of the mold/mildew.

Can you comment on the major research questions related to aerosol physical and chemical properties as it relates to India? Where is the research headed, and what are the major barriers?

This is a tough question to answer because I did notice a disconnect between the ‘state of the science’ in the US and Europe compared to India. The overall lack of measurements and detailed research in India make it hard to know exactly what to do. At first glance, one could say that the problems are similar to earlier problems in the US. But, upon second glance one realizes that the public infrastructure, state/federal laws, and cultural aspects all play important roles. I also thought quite a bit about the impact of anthropogenic emissions in terms of semi-volatile partitioning and secondary processes (gas phase and aqueous phase).

Overall, it seems to me that the most urgent questions pertain to the health effects of the emissions and secondary processes in India. I understood from informal conversations that the cultural practices and a lack of knowledge present unique challenges inhibiting air quality improvement. For example, Dr. Khare mentioned that people in Delhi who receive liquid fuels for cooking would rather sell it than use it. It seems they do not fully appreciate the health impacts associated with the solid fuel cooking practices. This is very difficult for an outsider like me to understand. In another example, a pair of students from Delhi Tech talked about the effect of a recent firecracker ban in Delhi on the air quality during the Diwali festival. The students are just starting and they have some promising insights, but because they haven’t been able to monitor the metals associated with the firecrackers and so they cannot eliminate the co-varying factors that contribute to the air quality during the Diwali. After some casual conversation, I learned that firecrackers are a relatively modern aspect of the ‘festival of light’. Traditionally, oil lamps were used to light up homes, etc. They also expressed concerns about the origin of the firecrackers (being sold despite the ban) and suggested that perhaps the new imported firecrackers contain more hazardous metals than the domestic ones (which are no longer in production due to the ban).

Do you have any advice for the early career researchers interested in working on air pollution in India?

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Yes, I have two primary suggestions. First, spend some quality time on public engagement activities. I think that the future of air quality in India depends on the public understanding of its importance. We visited a high school and talked with 50 students, several teachers, and several parents. It was a blast! My only regret is that I didn’t fully understand what I was getting myself into and it takes some practice to talk with young audiences. Second, build a network of colleagues, especially within India, but try to include foreign researchers in your network as well. You’re dealing with some tough and unique challenges that need attention. The network and resulting collaborations will only strengthen your efforts.

On a lighter note, you talked about your first auto-rickshaw ride. How was your experience?  

It was bumpy, but a lot of fun! One of the things that I especially found interesting about the rickshaws (and buses) was their custom embellishments. I love that people took the time to decorate these vehicles. They truly add to the charm of India.

 

 

DST/MoEFCC Workshop on Realtime Air Quality Monitoring

A workshop on “Real-time Nationwide Low-Cost Sensor Network for Air Quality Monitoring” is being organised on 29th August, 2018 at Ganga Auditorium, Indira Paryavaran Bhavan, Jor Bagh Road, MoEF&CC, New Delhi.

IoT-based low-cost sensor network are emerging as potential alternative for air quality monitoring. It is imperative to discuss state-of-the-art and future potential of these low-cost technologies vis a vis high cost conventional systems.

Message from Deputy Secretary, MoEF&CC:

The workshop would give a platform for sharing of knowledge amongst stakeholders. It intends to deliberate upon full spectrum of low-cost sensor monitoring of air pollution including policy issues, modelling and remote monitoring of air quality.  Hon’ble Minister MoEF&CC has kindly consented to grace the occasion.

Workshop Agenda

The workshop is open for all. 

H/T: Ronak Sutaria

Press Conference: Air Pollution in Kolkata

Kolkata Clean Air organized a press conference on March 22nd focusing on air pollution and health in the city.

Panelists included:

  1. Dr. Abhijit Sarkar- Lead Consultant, Narayana MultiSpecialty Hospital
  2. Dr. Arup Haldar – Consultant Pulmonologist, Columbia Asia Hospital
  3. Dr. Chandrakanth – Medical Oncology Narayana Superspeciality Hospital
  4. Dr. Lalit Kapoor – Cardiac Surgeon, RN Tagore Hospital
  5. Dr. PK Hazra – Cardiologist, HOD of Cardiology, AMRI Hospital
  6. Dr. Raja Dhar – Consultant Respiratory Physician, Fortis Hospital
  7. Dr. Suman Mallick – Clinical Director, Chief of Radiation Oncology, Narayana Superspeciality Hospital

Kolkata is already infamously known as the Lung Cancer Capital of the country and reports claim that breathing the polluted air, is as bad as smoking cigarettes. It has been noted that lungs of non-smokers is as bad as that of smokers due to air pollution. Raising the red alert – eminent Doctors, Air quality Experts and Environmentalists came together under the banner of Kolkata Clean Air. They shared alarming data and facts on the issue at a press conference today – claiming there is a Health Crisis unfolding in the city of Joy due to Air Pollution.

Speaking at the event Dr. Suman Mallick, Medicine, Consultant Radiation Oncology, Narayana Super Specialist Hospital said that

Air pollution is one of the most important cause of respiratory diseases and lung cancer. The City of Joy- Kolkata has not only touched the country’s capital but have also surpassed in quite a few days in terms of air pollution. Kolkata Clean Air has come forward to spread the awareness among all citizens and to work hand in hand to provide a clean and safe environment for us and more precisely for our next generation.”

Eminent doctors specializing in cardiology, pulmonary, pediatrics all echoed that – children, elderly and people working outdoors were falling in the most vulnerable categories and were getting severely affected due to pollution. Dr Arup Halder, Consultant Pulmonologist, Colombia Asia at the event questioned the city

“Do we really care for our children? If yes, then how we can allow our beloved ones to breathe poison every minute!”  

Dr. Arvind Kumar, Chairman, Centre for Chest Surgery & Director, Institute of Robotic Surgery, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital emphasized that

“The situation is so alarming that today every child born in any urbanized & industrialized city of India smokes as many as 10-12 cigarettes a day through the pollutants present in the air. So, all the more it has become imperative to bring about a change now.”

He went onto add “The time to act is now.”

Dr.Prakash Kumar Hazra Head – Department of Cardiology, AMRI further added that

“Air pollution is causing havoc to our health and also the ecosystem of our beloved planet earth. Day by day it is increasing in severity and extent. Air pollution can change the genetic expression our next generation by epigenetic mechanism. Environmental impact can affect pregnant mother and the fetus. Irritation, difficulties in concentrating, problems with skin, eye, lung then heart takes the major burnt, other organ like brain, kidney are even not spared.”

Air pollution has become one of the largest killers in the world – responsible for 6.4 million deaths per year (1 in 9 deaths). This is three times higher than the number of deaths from AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis combined. India has the highest pollution related deaths according the Lancet Report.

While Delhi is considered the most polluted city in the world, but the experts were quick to point out that Kolkata’s air is just as bad as Delhi’s air quality. Dr Halder to this point added

“The emergence of fresh data suggests that air quality in Kolkata is as worse as Delhi with the possibility of being more detrimental due to unplanned urbanisation and vulnerable climates.” 

Dr Dhar , further added  that,

“The air pollution in Kolkata is often worse than that of Delhi. The air quality in Kolkata is mainly related to diesel exhaust which results in respiratory particulate matter (RPM) of smaller particle size compared to the RPM in Delhi which is mainly a result of crop stubble burning. This results in far more acute severe asthma cases being admitted during the winter season as compared to anywhere else in the country.”

The doctors explained that air pollution is of two parts- particulate matter or gases. Particulate Matter PM (10) affects lungs and Particulate matter PM (2.5) affects heart and brain. Gases like SO2, NO2 and ozone cause damage to the lungs.  Dr. Tapan Kumar Biswas, State President, IMA Bengal State pointed out that

“PM 2.5 is the main cause for serious issues like COPD, pneumoconiosis, and lung cancer, allergic rhinitis. Air pollution affects everyone, primarily the elderly and children with bronchial asthma.”

Reports suggest that 47% Kolkata’s suffer from lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI) and air pollution is resulting in life expectancy in Bengal dropping by 6.1 years . The cases of lung cancer is the highest in Kolkata and doctors attributed a large portion of the same to air pollution, Dr Raja Dhar , Respiratory Medicine, Consultant Pulmonologist, Fortis Hospital “ A study by CNCI has also identified Kolkata as being the Cancer capital of the world. This is due to a combination of smoking and air pollution. A joint study by CNCI, WBDE & CPCB has found that around a whopping 70% of people in the city of Kolkata suffer from respiratory disorders caused by air pollution.“  Dr Chandrakanth MV, Medical Oncologist, Narayana Hospitals emphasised that “Every cell of our body breathes, multiplies and lives due to the air surrounding us. When air is contaminated, our body faces problems. Respiratory diseases like COPD, interstitial lung disease. It also increases the risk of lung cancer, head and neck cancer, bladder cancer and blood cancer. “

What is Kolkata Clean Air

Kolkata Clean Air is a citizen driven initiative with a vision for Kolkata to be one of the Most Live-able and Climate Friendly city in the World. Citizens from various walks of life and professions have came together to find solutions to air pollution. Kolkata Clean Air has installed two air monitor devices in the city at Moulali and Ballygunj, to assess the air quality. It was found that out of the 35 days recorded between Jan and March – 69% of the days, Kolkata Air quality was reported as very poor, with max AQI ranging between 300 and 400. And it was found 17% of the days reported severe levels of pollution, even touching the 500 AQI mark! The acceptable limit of AQI is under 50. In any other country such alarming levels of air quality would have led to an emergency – and led to citizen alerts, and avoidance of all outdoor exertions.

Since coming together on the 28th of January, hundreds of children and active citizens from all walks of life marched and cycled across Kolkata with air pollution masks on their faces. Through the Kolkata Book Fair Kolkata clean air team collected over 20 thousand signatures and pledges. At the event Kolkata Clean Air also launched a missed call (9289220740) campaign to take pledges of citizens.

At the event the experts pointed out that vehicular pollution especially Diesel-run taxis, buses and trucks contribute substantially to Kolkata’s air pollution, and in addition to that construction activity and open burning of municipal waste cause pollution contribute to the every increasing air pollution of the city.

 

Air experts demanded that air quality monitoring stations be setup across the city and a Source Based Action Plan for Abatement of Air pollution be put in place like other cities and countries have done. In addition to this the city should strongly act against offenders driving polluting vehicles, burning trash or construction sites not using permeable sheets. The group felt that it was imperative for the city to formulate and Implement a comprehensive mobility plan with an integrated multi modal public transport plan keeping Electric vehicle at the centre of the plan. Dr.Sushmita Roychoudhuri. Consultant Pulmonologist Apollo Gleneagles said that

“Polluting air today, pollutes lungs tomorrow and imperils lives the day after. We have to stop polluting our air together today to ensure a safer tomorrow.”

All doctors all agreed that a clean environment will be the best investment for our children and urged urgent action.

The experts agreed that sweeping lifestyle changes and bold policy changes are required.  The positive thing though is that there is Technical and economical feasible solutions to control air pollution are already with us. They have effectively been implemented in many countries and these countries have substantially reduced their air pollution by implementing the same. Kolkata has always been the thought leader and can again take the lead to save its citizens and show the path to other cities in India and other parts of the world.

 

Courtesy of Mr. Ajay Mittal, Kolkata Clean Air [cross-posted from Kolkata Clean Air] 

Find Kolkata Clean Air on Twitter and Facebook

Event Alert: Seminar for Journalists

Understanding & Reporting Climate, Air Pollution & Health – A Seminar for Journalists

WHAT: The proposed workshop aims to help environmental and health journalists understand the scientific data around air monitoring, particularly the data available for monitoring air quality in Chennai, its health implications and the need for immediate action.

WHERE: Press Institute of India (website)

Research Institute for Newspaper Development
Second Main Road, Taramani CPT Campus
Chennai – 600 113

WHEN: Monday, January 29, 2018, 2-6 PM

Registration Form 

Details 

Event Alert: Panel on Air Pollution

What: Panel on ‘Health Effects of Exposure to Air Pollution’

When: Wednesday, December 20, 2017, 4-5:30 PM 

Where: Conference Hall, Centre for Policy Research

Public debate over the quality of Delhi’s air reliably spikes every winter, along with the readings from air quality monitors. However, public discussion tends to rapidly taper off, even as the air quality remains consistently bad.

The Initiative on Climate, Energy and Environment (ICEE) at the Centre for Policy Research (CPR) is organising a seminar series – Clearing the Air? Seminar Series on Delhi’s Air Pollution – to promote sustained and informed public understanding around the data, impacts, sources and policy challenges involved in clearing Delhi’s air. While we will focus on the Delhi context, the series will also reflect the fact that the problem extends far beyond Delhi. The seminar series will present the work of experts in a range of areas, to help promote informed public discussion about what changes are needed, what is possible, and how to get it done. Clearing the air in terms of knowledge and public information, we hope, will make a small contribution toward actually clearing Delhi’s air.

Details 

Air Quality Action Plan for Panjim

Indian and European Experts gather in Goa to develop Panjim’s Air Quality Action Plan

 

On 16 September 2017, Indian and European Experts will gather in Panjim, Goa to brainstorm about air pollution emissions in the city and find solutions to be developed in a local air quality action plan.

Henriette Faergemann, Councelor Environment, Energy and Climate of the Delegation of the European Union in India and Bhutan:

The interchange of best practices and technologies between the European Union experts and India institutions will be a catalyser for the further development of local action planning and strategies to reduce air pollution. The planned workshops are expected to be a great forum for productive brainstorming and contribute to a stronger partnership between India and the European Union.

Read the press briefing here, and learn more about the project here.

Workshop on Air Quality Management

What: A workshop on Air Quality Management (AQM)

When: September 27th , 2017

Where: Mumbai

Organizers: SDG Foundation and IFAT India

Contact: Dr. Shrikar Dole (shrikardole[at]sdg-foundation[dot]org)

The following text has been provided by the SDG Foundation, and has only been lightly edited for brevity. 

Details 

Air Quality Management has drawn attention of the policymakers, regulators, city managers and industries at the national, state as well as city level. The urban areas and industrial sector are significant contributors of air pollution.

Notified industry emission regulations and National Ambient Air Quality Standards have an important role to play in improving air quality. The authorities have issued stringent directives for automated monitoring to Industries and Urban Local Bodies (ULBs). Unfortunately, there has been little progress or accomplishment on the ground and the air pollution levels in cities and around industrial estates has been found at alarming levels. Poor understanding and weak institutional capacities is one of the major bottlenecks.

This workshop will bring together a range of stakeholders to discuss and to share technologies, knowledge and experience on AQM. The idea is to provide an all round perspective on AQM to industry and cities to allow them to take an informed decision on actions for their AQM Plans.


Expert Speakers

  1. Dr. P. Anbalagan, Member Secretary, Maharashtra State Pollution Control Board
  2. Dr. Meinolf Drueeke, State Agency for Environment, Nature Conservation & Geology, MBUB, Germany
  3. Dr Prasad Modak, Environment Management Center, Mumbai (profile)
  4. Dr Gufran Beig, Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune (profile)
  5. Dr. V. M. Motghare, Joint Director (Air), MPCB and
  6. Technology Company (TBD)

Conference on Aerosols-Climate Change

International Conference on Aerosol Climate Change Connection 

Bose Institute, an autonomous scientific research organization under Ministry of Science and Technology, Govt of India is going to organize an International Conference on Aerosol Climate Change Connection (AC3).  This international conference will be focused on the discussions on the emerging trends in recent aerosol science researches and the new insights on the role of aerosols on climate change by bringing aerosol science community from across the country as well as the Globe together at this part of majestic environment of the Himalayas.

Where: Bose Institute, Darjeeling, India

When: 25-27 April, 2017

Topics: The conference will focus on the discussions on the role of aerosols and its connection with the recent climate change trends and the following broad areas and topics will be covered in this three days conference. Each day contains two sessions (pre and post lunch) and thus will have six sessions covering six broad areas. 

 

Deadlines

Abstract submission opens: 15th December, 2016

Abstract submission deadline: 1st February, 2017

Abstract acceptance notification: 15th February, 2017

Check the website for details.

2017 AOGS Annual Meeting- Abstract Submission

What? 14th Annual Meeting of the Asia Oceania Geosciences Society [Website]

Session AS15: Satellite Remote Sensing Methods and Data Applications for Air Quality Monitoring and Research in Asia

Conveners: Pawan Gupta (USRA/GSFC), Robert Levy (GSFC), Jhoon Kim (Yonsei Univ., South Korea), Sachin Ghude (IITM, India), and Lok Lamsal (USRA/GSFC)

Air pollution monitoring, especially in developing countries, is sparse. This is a major problem for forecasting severe air quality episodes, as well as monitoring exposure for millions of people. However, in the past few decades, there have been great advancements in the ability for satellites to provide information about air pollution, including the regions that are not well-served by ground monitors. Therefore, the ever-expanding satellite database has provided opportunities to investigate air quality trends, source identification, and quantify impacts on visibility and human health. We seek papers that describe the theory and development of satellite-based aerosols and trace gases (NO2, SO2, CH4, O3, CO, and others) observations as well as their applications for characterizing and monitoring air quality over Asia. Applications could, for instance, include determining seasonal and long-term trends, relating the satellite observations to surface measurements, and using them for model development, improvement, assimilation, and validation. Also, we welcome discussions about fire/smoke and dust monitoring and the associated impacts on air quality, visibility, and health.

Key dates

Submission Opens: 07 Dec 2016
Submission Closes: 15 Feb 2017
Acceptance Notification: 29 Mar 2017
Author Registration Deadline: 24 May 2017

Funding Support 

Details about complimentary registration and reduced registration fee