A Senior Lecturer at Leeds Trinity University is celebrating following the publication of her latest research article by online science journal PLOS ONE.
Senior Lecturer in Psychology Dr Laura De Pretto, was co-author of Public Awareness and Support for Environmental Protection – a Focus on Air Pollution in Peninsular Malaysia, a study into public perception towards air pollution in Malaysia.
Dr De Pretto and her co-authors, who she previously worked with at The University of Nottingham Malaysia, conducted the study to investigate public perception towards air pollution, environmental awareness and attitudes towards environmental protection.
214 residents from the largest urban and industrial areas in the country responded to the study, with around two-thirds believing the air to be either "not polluted at all" or "somewhat polluted but causes no harm" – despite strong evidence of harmful levels of pollution in these areas.
Dr De Pretto said: "Action must be carried out to change the mind-set and help people understand the serious health effects of even regular air pollution, and the fact that that every small individual choice matters in preventing it.
"The majority of participants were aware of the environmental impact of cars as a primary pollution source, yet private transport is still the preferred transportation mode.
The study expands on the group's previous research into transboundary haze episodes in Southeast Asia. These episodes, caused by seasonal forest fires, have become a recurrent phenomenon in the area, with serious implications on the economy, the environment and public health.
Dr De Pretto added: "Our studies show that Malaysians are concerned about the haze, but not about regular air pollution."
Professor Carlton Cooke, Head of the School of Social and Health Sciences said: "The publication of Dr De Pretto's research is testament to Leeds Trinity University's commitment to outstanding teaching, led by research, scholarship and practice.
"Many of our teaching staff are active researchers and are contributing to our increasing reputation for research excellence. Congratulations to Dr De Pretto on this fantastic achievement, it is fully deserved."
The group's next research project is funded by the Toyota Foundation, to examine pro-environmental behaviours from a cross-cultural perspective in Southeast Asia.
Read the full study and results on PLOS ONE.