Engaging communities in addressing air quality: a scoping review

Ward, Fiona, Lowther-Payne, Hayley, Halliday, Emma C., Dooley, Keith, Joseph, Neil, Livesey, Ruth, Moran, Paul, Kirby, Simon and Cloke, Jane (2022) Engaging communities in addressing air quality: a scoping review. Environmental Health, 21 (1). ISSN 1476-069X

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12940-022-00896-2


Exposure to air pollution has a detrimental effect on health and disproportionately affects people living in socio-economically disadvantaged areas. Engaging with communities to identify concerns and solutions could support organisations responsible for air quality control, improve environmental decision-making, and widen understanding of air quality issues associated with health. This scoping review aimed to provide an overview of approaches used to engage communities in addressing air quality and identify the outcomes that have been achieved.

Searches for studies that described community engagement in air quality activities were conducted across five databases (Academic Search Complete, CABI, GreenFILE, MEDLINE, Web of Science). Data on study characteristics, community engagement approach, and relevant outcomes were extracted. The review process was informed by a multi-stakeholder group with an interest in and experience of community engagement in air quality. Thirty-nine papers from thirty studies were included in the final synthesis.

A range of approaches have been used to engage communities in addressing air quality, most notably air quality monitoring. Positive outcomes included increased awareness, capacity building, and changes to organisational policy and practice. Longer-term projects and further exploration of the impact of community engagement on improving air quality and health are needed as reporting on these outcomes was limited.

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