Using infoveillance to identify community concerns/literacy, reduce risk, and improve response in pollution and health emergencies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Contextualised in public health and environmental literacy frameworks, this interdisciplinary research applies the epidemiological concept ‘infoveillance’ to show how major pollution events can be mitigated by better use of information communication technologies (ICTs). Findings from statistical analysis of Google Trends™ data during a major Australian air pollution event (2019–2020 Summer bushfires) are presented to compare community environmental and health concerns, as manifested by Google searches, in three affected states. Internet searches related to air purifiers, air quality, and P2 facemasks increased as the measured air quality decreased. The commonality of internet search activity found across states, in response to pollution emergencies, presents a valuable, yet under utilised, information source for disaster management and response by health authorities and businesses. Significant correlations between the public’s keyword searches and pollution risk suggest Google Trends™ are an under utilised ICT for identifying public health literacy, needs, and emergency response. The 2019-2020 bushfire infoveillance analysis suggests earlier intervention/awareness of predictable community response to risk-management may mitigate insufficient supply of personal protective equipment (i.e., air purifiers) and alert authorities of illiteracies requiring immediate, urgent ramification to reduce public health risk and improve emergency response, including for vulnerable populations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number03002
Number of pages7
JournalE3S Web of Conferences
Volume241
Issue numberE3S
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2021

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