Dr Ashish Sharma

Postgraduate Research Student
MRes (Macquarie University, Australia); MS (GIST, S. Korea), B.Tech (Civil Engineering, India)

Academic and research departments

Global Centre for Clean Air Research.

My research project

My qualifications

2017 - 2021
University of Surrey
MRes (Environmental Science and Engineering)
Macquarie University, Australia
MS (Environmental Science and Engineering)
Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology (GIST), South Korea
B.Tech (Civil Engineering)
Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), India


In the media

Thumbnail https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-45181761


Research interests

My teaching

My publications


ASHISH SHARMA, PRASHANT KUMAR (2022)Air pollution exposure assessment simulation of babies in a bike trailer and implication for mitigation measures 2, In: Journal of Hazardous Materials Advances Elsevier

Young children are a vulnerable population cohort. They receive higher exposure to particulate matter than adults in outdoor roadside environments, necessitating research on an unexplored area of exposure to young children in electric bike trailers. We simulated the exposure profiles of an adult cyclist and young children sitting in a bike-trailer attached to it for multiple air pollutants – particulate matter ≤10µm in aerodynamic diameter (PM10), ≤2.5µm (PM2.5; fine particles), ≤1µm (PM1), BC, and CO2 – during the school run in the morning and afternoon hours. We assessed the differences in their exposure concentrations and analysed the impact of trailer covers and COVID-19 lockdown restrictions via simultaneous measurements under six settings forming three scenarios: (i) bike-trailer versus adult cyclist height; (ii) bike-trailer with and without the cover; and (iii) exposure during the lockdown and eased-lockdown periods. We carried out a total of 82 single runs covering a length of 172 km. These runs were repeated on a 2.1 km long predefined route between an origin (University campus) and destination (a local school) to simulate morning drop-off (08:00-10:00h; local time) and afternoon pick-up (15:00-17:00h) times of school children. Substantial variability was observed in concentrations of measured pollutants within each run (e.g., up to 97% for BC) and between different runs (e.g., ~93% for PM2.5 during morning versus afternoon) in bike-trailer. Compared with cyclist height, the average bike-trailer concentration of fine and coarse particles was higher by up to 14% and18%, respectively, during both morning and afternoon runs. The lockdown restrictions when schools were closed led to a reduction in bike-trailer PM2. concentrations by up to 91% compared with eased lockdown period when schools re-opened in March 2021. Trailer covers led up to 50% (fine particles) and 24% (BC; a component of PM2.5) reductions in concentrations compared with trailers without cover. Young children carried in bike trailers are exposed to higher air pollution concentrations compared with the cyclist, particularly during peak morning periods at urban pollution hotspots such as traffic lights.

Ashish Sharma, Prashant Kumar (2018)A review of factors surrounding the air pollution exposure to in-pram babies and mitigation strategies, In: Environment International120pp. 262-278 Elsevier

Air pollution exposure to in-pram babies poses a serious threat to their early childhood development, necessitating a need for effective mitigation measures. We reviewed the scientific and grey literature on in-pram babies and their personal exposure to traffic generated air pollutants such as particulate matter ≤10 μm (PM10), ≤2.5 μm (PM2.5), ≤0.10 μm (ultrafine particles) in size, black carbon and nitrogen oxides and potential mitigation pathways. In-pram babies can be exposed up to ~60% higher average concentrations depending on the pollutant types compared with adults. The air within the first few meters above the road level is usually most polluted. Therefore, we classified various pram types based on criteria such as height, width and the seating capacity (single versus twin) and assessed the breathing heights of sitting babies in various pram types available in the market. This classification revealed the pram widths between 0.56 and 0.82 m and top handle heights up to ~1.25 m as opposed to breathing height between 0.55 and 0.85 m, suggesting that the concentration within the first meter above the road level is critical for exposure to in-pram babies. The assessment of flow features around the prams suggests that meteorological conditions (e.g., wind speed and direction) and traffic-produced turbulence affect the pollution dispersion around them. A survey of the physicochemical properties of particles from roadside environment demonstrated the dominance of toxic metals that have been shown to damage their frontal lobe as well as cognition and brain development when inhaled by in-pram babies. We then assessed a wide range of active and passive exposure mitigation strategies, including a passive control at the receptor such as the enhanced filtration around the breathing zone and protection of prams via covers. Technological solutions such as creating a clean air zone around the breathing area can provide instant solutions. However, a holistic approach involving a mix of innovative technological solutions, community empowerment and exposure-centric policies are needed to help limit personal exposure of in-pram babies.

Prashant Kumar, Angela Druckman, John Gallagher, Birgitta Gatersleben, Sarah Allison, Theodore S. Eisenman, Uy Hoang, Sarkawt Hama, Arvind Tiwari, Ashish Sharma, K V Abhijith, Deepti Adlakha, Aonghus McNabola, Thomas Astell-Burt, Xiaoqi Feng, Anne Skeldon, Simon de Lusignan, Lidia Morawska (2019)The Nexus between Air Pollution, Green Infrastructure and Human Health, In: Environment International133 A105181 Elsevier

Cities are constantly evolving and so are the living conditions within and between them. Rapid urbanization and the ever-growing need for housing have turned large areas of many cities into concrete landscapes that lack greenery. Green infrastructure can support human health, provide socio-economic and environmental benefits, and bring color to an otherwise grey urban landscape. Sometimes, benefits come with downsides in relation to its impact on air quality and human health, requiring suitable data and guidelines to implement effective greening strategies. Air pollution and human health, as well as green infrastructure and human health, are often studied together. Linking green infrastructure with air quality and human health together is a unique aspect of this article. A holistic understanding of these links is key to enabling policymakers and urban planners to make informed decisions. By critically evaluating the link between green infrastructure and human health via air pollution mitigation, we also discuss if our existing understanding of such interventions is enabling their uptake in practice. Both the natural science and epidemiology approach the topic of green infrastructure and human health very differently. The pathways linking health benefits to pollution reduction by urban vegetation remain unclear and that the mode of green infrastructure deployment is critical to avoid unintended consequences. Strategic deployment of green infrastructure may reduce downwind pollution exposure. However, the development of bespoke design guidelines is vital to promote and optimize greening benefits and measuring green infrastructure’s socio-economic and health benefits are key for their uptake. Greening cities to mitigate pollution effects is on the rise and these needs to be matched by scientific evidence and appropriate guidelines. We conclude that urban vegetation can facilitate broad health benefits, but there is little empirical evidence linking these benefits to air pollution reduction by urban vegetation, and appreciable efforts are needed to establish the underlying policies, design and engineering guidelines governing its deployment.

Ashish Sharma, Hamid Omidvarborna, Prashant Kumar (2022)Efficacy of facemasks in mitigating respiratory exposure to submicron aerosols, In: Journal of hazardous materials422126783 Elsevier B.V

We designed a novel experimental set-up to pseudo-simultaneous measure size-segregated filtration efficiency (ηF), breathing resistance (ηP) and potential usage time (tB) for 11 types of face protective equipment (FPE; four respirators; three medical; and four handmade) in the submicron range. As expected, the highest ηF was exhibited by respirators (97±3%), followed by medical (81±7%) and handmade (47±13%). Similarly, the breathing resistance was highest for respirators, followed by medical and handmade FPE. Combined analysis of efficiency and breathing resistance highlighted trade-offs, i.e. respirators showing the best overall performance across these two indicators, followed by medical and handmade FPE. This hierarchy was also confirmed by quality factor, which is a performance indicator of filters. Detailed assessment of size-segregated aerosols, combined with the scanning electron microscope imaging, revealed material characteristics such as pore density, fiber thickness, filter material and number of layers influence their performance. ηF and ηP showed an inverse exponential decay with time. Using their cross-over point, in combination with acceptable breathability, allowed to estimate tB as 3.2-9.5hours (respirators), 2.6-7.3hours (medical masks) and 4.0-8.8hours (handmade). While relatively longer tB of handmade FPE indicate breathing comfort, they are far less efficient in filtering virus-laden submicron aerosols compared with respirators. [Display omitted] •FFP3 respirators showed highest filtration efficiency and breathing resistance.•Multi-layered micro/nano-scale fibres of medical masks offer ηF comparable to respirators.•Highest quality factor was obtained for respirators while the lowest for handmade masks.•FFP3 showed maximum potential usage time and quality factor at acceptable breathability.•SEM images revealed dense aerosol layers deposited on facemasks with thinner fibres.

Prashant Kumar, Sarkawt Hama, Hamid Omidvarborna, Ashish Sharma, Jeetendra Sahani, K.V Abhijith, Sisay E. Debele, Juan C. Zavala-Reyes, Yendle Barwise, Arvind Tiwari (2020)Temporary reduction in fine particulate matter due to ‘anthropogenic emissions switch-off’ during COVID-19 lockdown in Indian cities, In: Sustainable Cities and Society102382 Elsevier

The COVID-19 pandemic elicited a global response to limit associated mortality, with social distancing and lockdowns being imposed. In India, human activities were restricted from late March 2020. This ‘anthropogenic emissions switch-off’ presented an opportunity to investigate impacts of COVID-19 mitigation measures on ambient air quality in five Indian cities (Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Mumbai), using in-situ measurements from 2015 to 2020. For each year, we isolated, analysed and compared fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentration data from 25 March to 11 May, to elucidate the effects of the lockdown. Like other global cities, we observed substantial reductions in PM2.5 concentrations, from 19 to 43% (Chennai), 41–53 % (Delhi), 26–54 % (Hyderabad), 24–36 % (Kolkata), and 10–39 % (Mumbai). Generally, cities with larger traffic volumes showed greater reductions. Aerosol loading decreased by 29 % (Chennai), 11 % (Delhi), 4% (Kolkata), and 1% (Mumbai) against 2019 data. Health and related economic impact assessments indicated 630 prevented premature deaths during lockdown across all five cities, valued at 0.69 billion USD. Improvements in air quality may be considered a temporary lockdown benefit as revitalising the economy could reverse this trend. Regulatory bodies must closely monitor air quality levels, which currently offer a baseline for future mitigation plans.

Ashish Sharma, Prashant Kumar (2020)Quantification of air pollution exposure to in-pram babies and mitigation strategies, In: Environment International Elsevier

Additional publications