PhD Student in Environmental Science and Sustainable Development, Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development, Banaras Hindu University, India
Research focus: climate variability, human health, extreme temperature, air pollution
Nidhi’s current research work aims at assessing the impact of climate change and variability on the health of children. Her work is directly related to three UN Sustainable Development Goals: 3 (Good Health and Well-Being), 11 (Sustainable Cities), and 13 (Climate Action), all dealing – among other topics – with air pollution and extreme heat.
In her PhD research, Nidhi has focused on morbidity among children. The study is being undertaken in Varanasi city, one of the various towns in India with more than one million inhabitants. The prospective community-based survey covers the period from 2017 to 2020. Overall, 500 children were selected across different households based on simple random sampling and are followed up every 4 months.
The generalised additive modelling technique will be used to establish the association between weather variables and child morbidity as attributable risk fractions, taking into account intensive demographic, socio-economic, and child anthropometric data. Nidhi aims to use the complete data set to be able to tell something about the increased risk of morbidity among children for the next decades.
Nidhi also has worked on the effects of extreme temperature and air pollution in general. She has explored the impact of extreme heat and cold days and the effect of multiple air pollutants, e.g., aerosols (black carbon) and trace gases, on all-cause mortality in a typical urban pollution hotspot. The results showed an increased risk due to heatwaves and air pollution, particularly in children and elderly people.
Nidhi advocates the inclusion of black carbon as a potential health indicator for epidemiological studies due to its strong association with mortality. Her research helps to develop policy recommendations, adaptations, and mitigation strategies. A multi-city approach will provide new insights to the present knowledge and will help in framing a robust policy and early warning system.
The jury was convinced by Nidhi’s empirical approach that links the aspects of air pollution and health, which, taken together in this way, have not been adequately researched yet.