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How do we effectively communicate air pollution to change public attitudes and behaviours? A review

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Title: How do we effectively communicate air pollution to change public attitudes and behaviours? A review
Authors: Riley, R
De Preux, L
Capella, P
Mejia, C
Kajikawa, Y
De Nazelle, A
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: Solutions that engage the public are needed to tackle air pollution. Technological approaches are insufficient to bring urban air quality to recommended target levels, and miss out on opportunities to promote health more holistically through behavioural solutions, such as active travel. Behaviour change is not straightforward, however, and is more likely to be achieved when communication campaigns are based on established theory and evidence-based practices. We systematically reviewed the academic literature on air pollution communication campaigns aimed at influencing air pollution-related behaviour. Based on these findings, we developed an evidence-based framework for stimulating behaviour change through engagement. Across the 37 studies selected for analyses, we identified 28 different behaviours assessed using a variety of designs including natural and research-manipulated experiments, cross-sectional and longitudinal surveys and focus groups. While avoidance behaviour (e.g. reducing outdoor activity) followed by contributing behaviours (e.g. reducing idling) were by far the most commonly studied, supporting behaviour (e.g. civil engagement) shows promising results, with the added benefit that supporting local and national policies may eventually lead to the removal of social and physical barriers that prevent wider behavioural changes. Providing a range of actionable information will reduce disengagement due to feelings of powerlessness. Targeted localized information will appear more immediate and engaging, and positive framing will prevent cognitive dissonance whereby people rationalize their behaviour to avoid living with feelings of unease. Communicating the co-benefits of action may persuade individuals with different drivers but as an effective solution, it remains to be explored. Generally, finding ways to connect with people’s emotions, including activating social norms and identities and creating a sense of collective responsibility, provide promising yet under-explored directions. Smartphones provide unique opportunities that enable flexible and targeted engagement, but care must be taken to avoid transferring responsibility for action from national and local authorities onto individuals. Multidisciplinary teams involving artists, members of the public, community and pressure groups, policy makers, researchers, and businesses, are needed to co-create the stories and tools that can lead to effective action to tackle air pollution through behavioural solutions.
Issue Date: 27-Sep-2021
Date of Acceptance: 7-Sep-2021
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10044/1/91949
DOI: 10.1007/s11625-021-01038-2
ISSN: 1862-4065
Publisher: Springer Science and Business Media LLC
Start Page: 2027
End Page: 2047
Journal / Book Title: Sustainability Science
Volume: 16
Copyright Statement: © The Author(s) 2021. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Keywords: Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Green & Sustainable Science & Technology
Environmental Sciences
Science & Technology - Other Topics
Environmental Sciences & Ecology
Air quality
Communication
Engagement
Campaign
Information role
HEALTH BELIEF MODEL
METROPOLITAN-AREA
QUALITY WARNINGS
SOCIAL NORMS
IMPACT
INFORMATION
ALERTS
CONSERVATION
SCIENCE
OZONE
Environmental Sciences
Publication Status: Published
Online Publication Date: 2021-09-27
Appears in Collections:Imperial College Business School
Centre for Environmental Policy
Faculty of Natural Sciences



This item is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons