Starting on Monday 25 September, Tekiu will welcome a group of 12 Polish decision makers to London on the first DITOs Discovery Trip about Air Quality Policy and Practice. Over 2.5 days, these individuals will meet with a range of different UK organisations to learn about, share experiences and build relationships around the topic of battling air pollution in cities.
It’s a mixed group of individuals from regional city councils, governmental agencies, businesses and civil society organisations all from the metropolitan area of Katowice in the Silesia Voivodeship.
But wait, what exactly is a Discovery Trip?
A Discovery Trip (DT) is an in-depth study trip that introduces policy and decision makers to emerging policy topics. Typically taking place in an international setting, the participants meet with host organisations including academic, public sector and private stakeholders who are leaders in the field. As well as knowledge transfer between hosts and visitors, DTs are a chance to build international networks and share experiences.
The World Health Organisation’s report on "Ambient Air Pollution Database" [updated 2016] showed that one third of 33 of the 50 most polluted cities in the European Union are located in the Silesian province.
There are several challenges to overcome.
The Silesia region has a rich industrial heritage and is densely populated, with almost 80% of individuals living in urban areas. The main sources of pollution of the air in Poland are small particle emissions or smoke from the stoves of central heating boilers in individual households and automobile exhaust.
There is a lack of integrated governance networks on national, regional and local levels leading to poor accountability. Although many separate research networks and funding mechanisms exist, they suffer from a disconnect from policy due to a lack of clear political will or systematic approach to tackle the various causes of pollution.
More efforts are needed to encourage citizen engagement with the issue and introduce measures to drive longer term behavioural change from the bottom up.
We’ve been lucky enough to arrange meetings with organisations who are at the heart of Air Quality issues in the UK. Some of the hosts the group will meet with include:
- local boroughs who will tell us about their sustainability and public health programmes, and work with local businesses;
- NGOs who will share with us how they engage with communities to make a difference in their local neighbourhoods;
- organisations responsible for city-wide initiatives such as the Greater London Authority and Transport for London who will introduce the latest policy approaches that are helping London to meet its emissions targets.
To follow our journey on Twitter, check out @TogetherSci and @TekiuLtd or just look out for the hashtags:
#DITscience #knowledgetransfer #citizenscience #airquality #sustainability #discoverytrip
We’ll also be blogging about the meetings and posting additional resources after the trip so check back to find out how Discovery Trips are helping us to engage policy makers across Europe with the issues important to citizen scientists across the world!
If you’re interested in learning more about Discovery Trips related to #citizenscience #RRI #biodesign #DITscience etc, get in touch with Aleks from the Tekiu team: aleks[at]tekiu.org
Tekiu Ltd is a knowledge transfer and policy consultancy focused on bespoke international visits for delegates from industry, government and academia. Our vision is a world where companies, organisations and governments are actively engaging with their counterparts internationally to benchmark and learn from each other’s’ successes and failures.