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Through the Smokescreen: Public Knowledge and Attitudes on Air Quality and Its Health Impacts in India

Indians Want Clean Air Action, but Misperceptions Keep Focus on Lower Impact Solutions

Indians want their government to implement policy solutions to improve air quality, but new research suggests that misperceptions drive their demand toward solutions that have limited impact on air pollution. “Through the Smokescreen,” a report by global health organization Vital Strategies, reveals poor public understanding of the major sources of air pollution and priority clean air solutions in India, despite the fact that 99% of India’s population are breathing air that is worse than the World Health Organization’s health-based air quality guidelines.

“Through the Smokescreen” is based on an analysis of 82,000 news and social media posts from India, eight focus group discussions, and over 2,000 interviews of residents in five Indian cities: Delhi, Surat, Patna, Mumbai and Bengaluru.

The report further summarizes current understanding and attitudes on air pollution and associated health effects, and provides evidence-based guidance to dispel current air pollution myths and increase public demand for addressing the sources most responsible for poor air quality.

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