The perceptions and attitudes of LJMU students residing in the Liverpool City Region regarding outdoor air pollution

  • Kaz Randles
Keywords: Outdoor air pollution, Risk, students, Perception, Attitudes, Liverpool City Region


Air pollution is a global issue affecting low, middle, and high income countries. Poor air quality can have both short and long term effects on health mainly effecting the respiratory and cardiovascular system and is believed to contribute to 4.2 million deaths annually worldwide. The severity of these effects is dependent on concentration, exposure and individual sensitivity to air pollution and more often affects the most vulnerable in society. The UK still follows the legal requirements for air pollution set by the EU although some cities remain in breach of these limits and tolerances which is damaging to the health of the population. The Liverpool City Region (LCR) is one of these, with asthma rates and preventable deaths from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases higher than the national average making the population of the LCR vulnerable to the ill effects of poor air quality. This study explores students’ knowledge of anthropogenic sources of outdoor air pollution, the main pollutants and their health effects as well as their attitudes towards risk. The study also looks at students’ awareness of schemes currently underway in the LCR trying to improve air quality. Data was collected using an online questionnaire emailed to Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) students targeting those currently residing in the LCR. Data from 83 students was analysed and presented in a number of charts before being interpretation. Overall students had good knowledge of anthropogenic sources, pollutants and health effects of outdoor air pollution. Despite being armed with this knowledge the participants weren’t overly concerned about outdoor air pollution nor did they think it was a high risk to themselves. The students stated that they were responsible as well as government to improve air quality however their lack of concern towards themselves suggests they would be less likely to follow through on these actions. The awareness of current schemes running in the LCR was low among students which reflects the lack of concern and level of risk they think it poses. The implications for public and environmental health are that students’ lack of concern about outdoor air pollution suggests they would be less likely to put pressure on the government to adopt stricter policies which in turn could pose a greater risk to their health in the longer term.