The Global Observatory on Pollution and Health is the research arm of the Global Public Health and the Common Good Program.

The Observatory was established in the Schiller Institute for Integrated Science and Society at Boston College in 2018. It continues the work of the Lancet Commission on Pollution and health to monitor progress towards pollution control and disease prevention. Its core mission is to aggregate, archive, and analyze data on pollution and pollution-related disease in cities and countries around the world.

The Observatory’s work is intended to guide research on pollution and its health effects; close gaps in knowledge; inform the development of energy and environmental policy; and assist cities and countries to identify their worst forms of pollution, prioritize interventions, track progress toward pollution control, and ultimately save lives. Learn more about our ongoing research intiatives by reading below or visit the Observatory.

Air Pollution in India 

Impacts on Human Health, the Economy and Human Capital

Air pollution in India is a major cause of disease, death, and shortened life expectancy. It was responsible in 2017 for an estimated 1.24 million premature deaths.  Air pollution in India causes great economic losses. It impairs children’s health and reduces their intelligence thus diminishing India’s human capital and potential for future development.

The goal of this multinational, multi-institutional study is to bring together the most recent information on the disease burden, economic costs and human capital losses attributable to air pollution in India in order to guide pollution prevention nationally and in each of India’s states.

The study was launched at Boston College in a two-day planning meeting held on October 25-26, 2018. A major working meeting of the Study Team and Study Advisory Group will be held in New Delhi, India on July 17-18, 2019.  Release of the study is planned for September 2019 at the time of the annual meeting in New York of the UN General Assembly.

This study receives support from UN Environment


Ocean Pollution and Human Health

Ocean pollution is a critically important, but insufficiently characterized and understudied component of global pollution. Its main drivers are poorly controlled industrialization, mechanized  agriculture, ever-growing numbers of cars, trucks and buses, and the continuing release into the earth’s oceans of plastics and toxic chemicals. The impacts of all these factors will be magnified by climate change and its inevitable consequence – sea surface warming.

Ocean pollution has multiple direct and indirect negative impacts on human health and these effects are only beginning to be understood. The purpose of this study is to comprehensively examine these effects, especially effects on the health of vulnerable populations, estimate their magnitude, project future trends, identify gaps in knowledge, and offer feasible, cost-effective solutions. The study will also discuss strategies for building human capacity in countries at every level of development to track and prevent ocean pollution.

The study is being undertaken in partnership with the Centre Scientifique de Monaco and with the support of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.