Millions of Kitchens – Are they Safe: PhD student explores energy use and air pollution through photography

Two pigeons cuddle on a rooftop in front of a hazy landscape. Photo by Mrinmoy Chakraborty.

A new photography exhibit by Mechanical Engineering PhD student and Liu Scholar Mrinmoy Chakraborty explores the kinds of residential energy sources used in rural India and their effect on indoor air pollution. Usually, he investigates this issue using numerical simulations and field studies under the co-supervision of Dr. Amanda Giang and Dr. Naomi Zimmerman, but for two weeks in the Liu Lobby Gallery he will be sharing his subject through a camera lens.

His photographs document a field study in rural India undertaken by the research team to look at the types of cooking fuels commonly being used and measuring their effects on indoor air quality. With support from a local NGO, the team created a pollution monitoring network using mobile and cost-effective sensors to measure cooking and fuel usage patterns. The project found that “the range of pollutant concentrations experienced daily by rural Indian households is often similar to or greater than what Vancouver observes during severe wildfire pollution episodes.” Chakraborty notes that this disproportionately exposes women and children to heath hazards like Black Carbon, while also contributing to climate change. The photography exhibit shares the team’s findings and experiences during the study.

As a Liu Scholar with the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, Chakraborty is mentored by Dr. Milind Kandlikar. The SPPGA Liu Scholar program supports PhD students of any discipline in undertaking a project that addresses public policy and global issues.

Visit Millions of kitchens – are they safe?

When: February 8- 24, 2023
Where: Lobby Gallery, Liu Institute for Global Issues (6476 NW Marine Drive, Vancouver)
Cost: Free
Details: read the Liu Lobby Gallery event description

To learn more about the exhibit and the research behind it, visit the Liu Lobby Gallery on February 23 at 5:30 PM, for an artist’s walk-through and informal discussion session.