Environmental Pollution

  • Girl doing homework while using a breathing treatment, photo by anandaBGD/Getty Images

    Commentary

    How a Poor Indoor Environment at Home Affects Children's Health in the EU

    One third of children in the EU are exposed to damp or mold, cold, darkness, and noise in their own homes. The good condition of homes should not only be seen as an issue of comfort, but as an essential basic requirement for good health of the residents, especially when they are families with children.

    Nov 4, 2019

  • A woman walks along a road covered in smog due to a forest fire in Banjarbaru, South Kalimantan province, Indonesia, September 6, 2019, photo by Antara Foto Agency/Reuters

    Commentary

    Uncovering the Links Between Fires and Public Health in Equatorial Asia

    Fires in Indonesia, if left unchecked, could cause an average of 36,000 premature deaths annually across Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. Researchers built a tool that models the effect of the fires on public health.

    Oct 25, 2019

  • Blog

    Virtual Societal Warfare, Iran, Opioids: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the risk of virtual societal welfare, Iran's domestic debates, federal policy options for supervised consumption sites, and more.

    Oct 11, 2019

  • Boats on the Musi River which was shrouded in smoke following an increase in fires in the region in Palembang, South Sumatra, Indonesia, September 16, 2018, photo by Antara Foto/Nova Wahyudi/Reuters

    Commentary

    We Built an App to Detect Areas Most Vulnerable to Life-Threatening Haze

    Forest and land-use fires are ravaging Indonesia's Sumatra and Kalimantan islands. Haze from these fires is life-threatening; inhaling smoke can cause heart and respiratory diseases, leading to premature deaths. We developed a new tool to provide decisionmakers with information to protect people who live downwind.

    Sep 10, 2019

  • A man walks through floodwaters to survey damage from Hurricane Sandy in the New Dorp Beach neighborhood of Staten Island, New York, November 1, 2012, photo by Lucas Jackson/Reuters

    Essay

    How Citizen Scientists Are Protecting Their Communities

    After Superstorm Sandy, residents of Brooklyn's Sunset Park neighborhood cleaned up debris, pumped out basements, and teamed up with researchers to find out what was in the floodwater. They established safety protocols to help local businesses prevent their chemicals from escaping and wrote a guide to help other communities.

    Aug 29, 2019

  • Oil barrel leaking oil grass, photo by RuslanDashinsky/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Increasing Groundwater Reliance in L.A. County Means Dealing with Extensive Contamination

    As the Los Angeles region increases its reliance on groundwater sources to become more resilient in the face of drought and to reduce demand for imported water sources, advances in the information available on groundwater quality and contamination could help community water systems avoid health hazards and better ensure a safe drinking water supply.

    Mar 12, 2019

  • Work crews on boats gather to clean marshland impacted by oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Barataria Bay of Louisiana, June 17, 2010.

    Commentary

    Overlapping Environmental Disasters Put a Strain on Gulf Communities

    For Gulf Coast residents, dealing with the impact of the Deepwater Horizon disaster is challenging enough. With the Taylor Energy spill, they may face an even more daunting recovery, one that could take decades. Acknowledging the extent and complexity of recovery is the first step toward supporting coastal communities to build their resilience in the face of overlapping disasters.

    Nov 29, 2018

  • Cows line up for feeding on Salisbury Plain in Southern England, May 20, 2012

    Commentary

    Ammonia – Why the Big Stink?

    Ammonia pollution harms human health and reduces the richness and diversity of the environment. As new policy frameworks are implemented in the UK, there is an opportunity to support farmers to make the changes necessary to reduce ammonia pollution.

    Sep 18, 2018

  • Ofo cycles lined up and ready for use at a railway station, Cambridge, UK, April 26, 2018

    Commentary

    Dockless Bikes Present Challenges, but Experience Shows They Can Work

    By encouraging more people to cycle, bike-sharing platforms could provide many potential benefits through reduced congestion, reduced air pollution, and health benefits. But there are also challenges, including pressures on existing cycling infrastructure and the potential for theft and vandalism.

    May 31, 2018

  • A man walks through a field amidst smog in New Delhi, India, February 7, 2018.

    Commentary

    Can Dirty-Air Discontent in New Delhi Push India Toward Greener Days?

    The downside to India's dramatic economic growth is New Delhi's off-the-charts air pollution. Public health officials have compared the harms of breathing in India's capital to smoking dozens of cigarettes a day. How bad must things become before Indians demand change and make it stick?

    Mar 22, 2018

  • U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., March 5, 2018

    Commentary

    Gaza on the Brink

    The combined risk of violence and pandemic in Gaza makes this small coastal enclave a ticking time bomb. While neither Israel nor the U.S. has the solutions to all of Gaza's water and health woes, the United States' decision to withhold funding to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency could only make things worse.

    Mar 9, 2018

  • Aerial view of solar farm in central Texas

    Commentary

    Navigating the Uncertain Path to Decarbonization

    Deep decarbonization can reduce the risk of climate change, and it offers opportunities to reimagine energy, transportation, and infrastructure. But it could also fail in many ways. Diverse, independent actors need a shared understanding of its complexity and deep uncertainty to design a solution to this challenge.

    Jul 11, 2017

  • Steam rises from the coal-fired Jim Bridger power plant outside Rock Springs, Wyoming, April 5, 2017

    Commentary

    Impact on the Environment from President Trump's First 100 Days

    President Trump's actions have not yet resulted in demonstrable change in environmental conditions or funding. But the groundwork is being laid to unwind major regulations and diminish staff at the EPA and other federal agencies with climate-related research in their portfolios.

    May 4, 2017

  • Bio power plant with storage of wooden fuel

    Commentary

    Uncertainty and Complexity: Biomass Can Help on the Path to Deep Decarbonization

    While biomass will almost certainly never become the dominant fuel for the electricity sector in the United States, it is still worth including as part of a menu of greenhouse gas mitigation strategies.

    Feb 24, 2017

  • People wearing masks walk in front of a statue of the late Chinese leader Mao Zedong on a hazy day in Shanghai, December 26, 2013

    Commentary

    China Has Done More About Pollution Than You Think (But It Must Do More)

    It is not obvious from recent headlines, but China's central and local governments have done more to curb the nation's air pollution over the past two years than casual observers may realize.

    Jan 18, 2016

  • A Super Scooper aircraft battles a 40-acre fire east of the Sepulveda Pass in Los Angeles

    Commentary

    Wildfires Getting More Destructive

    The potential for smoke to harm air quality and cause health problems was especially acute in 2015 because a record number of wildfires broke out in the United States. Pre-wildfire season preparedness could go a long way toward protecting public health.

    Dec 28, 2015

  • Residents do morning exercises at a park on a hazy day in Shenzhen, Guangdong province February 12, 2015

    Commentary

    China at Home: Marrying Prosperity and Well-Being

    As China strives to sustain its upward economic trajectory, it must also address its domestic problems—such as air pollution and the challenges presented by its aging population—if its people are to share fully in the rewards of economic development and expansion.

    Aug 21, 2015

  • Grandparents teaching their grandson how to play Xiangqi, Chinese chess

    News Release

    China's Aging Population Poses Challenges, but Changes to Health and Migration Policies Can Help

    While the rapid aging of China's population is thought to condemn the nation to a dismal future, past policies on education and new policies to improve health and foster internal migration could ease the challenges posed by an older citizenry.

    Jan 19, 2015

  • Forbidden City on a foggy day in Beijing, China

    Commentary

    China Can Fix Its Severe Pollution Problem

    China's economic transformation over the last three decades has produced potentially deadly air pollution its people inhale every day. But an investment of $215 billion annually could substantially reduce pollution, lessen its drag on productivity, spare the lungs of countless people, and save lives.

    Jan 19, 2015

  • U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands at the end of a news conference in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, November 12, 2014

    Commentary

    U.S.-China Global Warming Deal Could Signal Shift on Climate Change

    The U.S.-China agreement on limiting greenhouse gas emissions represents a significant and welcome shift in the international approach to addressing climate change. For the first time, a large developing country has agreed to limit its greenhouse gas emissions—a crucial step since these countries have become the world’s largest sources.

    Dec 9, 2014