Understanding the Dynamics of External Air Pollution


The concept of external air pollution is a complex mixture of the particular gas which is produced naturally or because of human activities (Saini, Garg & Kumar, 2019). In the recent era of globalisation, human health and environment are critically affected due to air pollution which is the major concern of the modern world today (Nowak et al., 2018). According to the World Health Organisation, major air pollutants are such as lead, sulphur oxide, pollution particles, nitrogen oxides, and carbon monoxide (Aydin, 2017). Exposure to the toxicants suspended in the air, whether short-term or long-term, have a serious impact on the human health. Respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, irritation in the eyes, skin diseases, complicated neuropsychiatric conditions and chronicle diseases such as cancer are some of the harmful health impacts of the exposure to air pollution. There are various sources of emission which are leading to air pollution; and in the recent years, the major sources of air pollution are due to various industrial processes and the motor vehicles (Francova et al., 2017). Additionally, fossil fuel combustion by the motor vehicles and industries, burning of wood for coal or heating indoor places are also the examples of air pollution, where the human activities are the cause of such pollution in the air. On the other hand, the natural sources of air pollution are forest fires, emissions from the vegetation, dust storms, and volcanic eruptions.


According to Malviya (2016), human health is affected by the air quality. The better quality of life of the individuals is associated with the better air quality and pollution free environment, where the people can stay safely. Every year, the number of deaths recorded globally because of air pollution is about seven million (Cohen et al., 2017). The people are suffering from many chronicle diseases due to such air pollution. the activities such as consumption of energy because of the transport, heating or air conditioning systems are also increasing year by year which cause air pollution and for the human activities globally, the incident of air pollution happens and this in turn deteriorate the quality of health of the individuals. In this context, one of the major sources of air pollutants in the urban areas is traffic (Yu et al., 2016). Civilisations is associated with major motorways and roads, better transport system which are the major factor affecting the air across the globe. Hence, harmful emissions from the traffic affect the health and well-being of the humans adversely.

Mixture of vehicle exhausts, evaporative emissions, and secondary pollutants created in the atmosphere and non-combustion emissions such as road dust, tire wear are the major cause of traffic related air pollution which hampers the health condition of the human beings (Matz et al., 2019). The combustion of fuel by the motor vehicles releases carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, Nitrogen oxide, particulate matter, and volatile organic compounds into the air, making it polluting and harmful for the plants, birds, animals, human and even the architectural buildings. The harmful pollutants and degradation of the air quality is the direct result of the increasing duration and severity of the traffic congestions. According to Zhang, Zhang & Chen (2017), the physical and psychological wellbeing of the human beings is affected differently with the exposure of different kind of air pollution. Respiratory diseases, damage to cardiovascular system, increased headaches, problems of anxiety and fatigue, irritation to the eyes, nose and throat, damage to the reproduction system or organs, damage to the nervous system, blood infections, and harm to liver and spleen are some of the consequences of being exposed to the polluted air and examples of harm caused to the organs and functional aspects of the human body (Carlsten & Rider, 2017).

The aim of the paper is to develop systematic review to explore the evidences available for understanding the impacts on the health of the human being exposed to the traffic-related air pollution. The objectives of the paper are such as,

To explore the reasons of traffic related air pollution

To evaluate the increasing impacts of traffic relayed air pollution on the heath condition of the human being

To suggest some suitable recommendations for mitigating the issue of traffic related air pollution for improving air quality and providing the scope to improve the health condition of the individuals across the globe


Research Question

The primary research questions for this systematic review are,

What are the causes of traffic related air pollution?

What are the impacts of the exposure to traffic-related air pollution on the human health?

The secondary research questions for this systematic review are

What is traffic related air pollution?

What are the possible effects of the exposure to air pollution on humans?

What are the recommended suggestions for mitigating the issue of air pollution?


Systematic review is effective research design of this research proposal. Extracting reliable and relevant information from the available body of evidence is done through systematic review. A review of the existing information is required by the decision makers, who are not able to keep the information up to date because of existence of lot of information which makes solving problems. This is where systematic review helps. It is a systematic approach followed in a sequential steps aimed at minimising the biasness of the information which makes decision making on the basis of reliability of the data (Whiting et al., 2016). Through systematic design, it is possible for the researcher to gather the valid and reliable information and evaluate the information for fulfilling the research objectives and aims.

Data Sources

Relevant articles for this research will be identified using electronic databases like MEDLINE, CINAHL, EMBASE, PsycINFO, PubMED, Google scholar. Published articles in these electronic databases will be selected and referred for the research. Keywords like “TRAP”, “TRAP and HUMAN HEALTH”, “IMPACT OF TRAP ON HUMANS”, etc will be used for searching the relevant articles Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trails will be searched for identifying published randomized controlled trail articles for the research (Virgili et al., 2018). The database of National Technical Information Service will be searched for identifying the relevant grey literature on the research topic for minimising the publication baseness along with visiting the British Library. Publication baseness will also be reduced by searching articles relevant for the research in the British Library. Additionally, the reference list of relevant studies may also provide some articles which could be used for this research. Hereby, the secondary sources of information are effective where the researcher can gather a vast knowledge and information related to the air pollution and its impacts on the health condition of the human being. The secondary literature sources include the books, journals, online articles and above mentioned database, which are beneficial for conducting the research successfully.

Inclusion/ Exclusion Criteria

The data sources will only be included in the research if:

They are about the perspective and prospective studies on the short-term and long-term exposure to traffic related air-pollution.

They are etiological research on various diseases caused because of exposure to air pollution manly focusing on traffic related air pollution.

Studies and researches published in English Language will be included in this paper.

Research will be limited to the studies published from 2015 till date because these studies are most recent and will provided updated data in the light of this research.

The data sources will be excluded if they are:

Exclusively focused on indoor air pollution Exposure

Documents or editorials not belonging to peer-reviewed journals or conference papers.

Selection of research papers

The research papers will be selected and finalised in three phases:

First Phase: The titles of the papers and their abstracts will be read and checked for the defined inclusion and exclusion criteria.

Second Phase: The full text of the shortlisted articles will be evaluated against the predefined inclusion and exclusion criteria.

Third phase: The bibliography of the selected articles will be scrutinised and small hand-picked papers will be evaluated against the inclusion and exclusion criteria.

Data extraction

The data pertaining to this research will be retrieved from the selected studies to be tailored to the review questions. Data extraction for this research pertains to the forms which are outlined in the forms of tables (Scott et al., 2018). Three tables will be used for extraction of the data.

Data Analysis

There are two types of data analysis technique, one is quantitative and other is qualitative. The quantitative data analysis technique is utilised for representing the quantitative data and conducting statistical analysis. On the other hand, the qualitative data analysis is related to gathering the secondary sources of information and analyse the collected information on the basis of secondary data, theories and concepts. Data analysis for this research paper will be completed using narrative analysis techniques or statistical analysis techniques which would be dependent on the analysis techniques used in the selected studies. If the data and results are not appropriately formed, narrative approach will be used for analysing the gathered data. One of the main reasons for this could be because of studies being too clinically or methodologically diverse. For systematic review paper, the qualitative data analysis is effective to analyse and evaluate the research topic which is to review the impacts of traffic related air pollution on the human health condition.

Data Analysis Tools

For keeping track of the process of the research the useful data analysis tool are word processing software including Microsoft word and spreadsheets will be used.

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Data Analysis required for this research paper will be done by using Microsoft excel and spreadsheets where proper track of the collected information and data can be maintained properly and it further helps the researcher to analyse the collected findings critically.

Methods of Quality appraisal

The CONSORT, which is Consolidated Standards of Reporting trials, statements will be used for checking the validity and improving the reporting style of the results of the Randomised controlled trial (RCT) studies which are included in the paper (Boutron et al., 2017). Along with this; CASP, which is Critical Appraisal Skills Program, statements will be used for validation and improved reporting of the results found in the cohort and case controlled studies used for this research (CASP, 2018).

For presenting a clear and transparent report which is comprehensible ay all, PRISMA, Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analysis, the statements will be the guiding styles throughout all the steps of this systematic review paper (Welch et al., 2016). Presenting clear and comprehensible findings and results of the planned research structure, research methods used and findings of the systematic review is the main purpose of using PRISMA statements.

Ethics Analytical Reflection

As the systematic review did not involve primary data analysis or collection, and there was no direct participation of anyone, hence, the systematic review will not have any ethical implication. However, an ethical consideration application will be submitted for the approval of this research, where it is necessary to protect the authenticity of the secondary data. The researcher must fill up the ethical form for the secondary research also, where validity and reliability of the collected data are managed well. The researcher ensures that the gathered data and information are utilised only for the research purpose, not for others. Additionally, the information from the secondary data sources will be cited properly with appropriate reference list to maintain the authenticity of the research.


This research will have the following limitations:

Paper is in only the English Language

No primary research will be conducted for this research

Paper published before 2015 will not be included in this research

Papers selected will be the academic research papers, systematic reviews, journal articles, peer-reviewed articles.



Budget is necessary to be predicted and settled to progress in the research paper, where it is possible for the researcher to conduct the study in a systematic manner. I have set a budget of £100 for purchasing research papers. I will not be travelling much for the research apart from travelling to the university library hence; I have not anticipated additional travel expenses.


Aydın, H., & İlkılıç, C. (2017). Air pollution, pollutant emissions and harmfull effects. Journal of Engineering and Technology, 1(1), 8-15.

Boutron, I., Altman, D. G., Moher, D., Schulz, K. F., & Ravaud, P. (2017). CONSORT statement for randomized trials of nonpharmacologic treatments: a 2017 update and a CONSORT extension for nonpharmacologic trial abstracts. Annals of internal medicine, 167(1), 40-47.

Carlsten, C., & Rider, C. F. (2017). Traffic-related air pollution and allergic disease: an update in the context of global urbanization. Current opinion in allergy and clinical immunology, 17(2), 85-89.

CASP, U. (2018). CASP checklists. Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) Oxford: CASP UK.

Cohen, A. J., Brauer, M., Burnett, R., Anderson, H. R., Frostad, J., Estep, K., ... & Feigin, V. (2017). Estimates and 25-year trends of the global burden of disease attributable to ambient air pollution: an analysis of data from the Global Burden of Diseases Study 2015. The Lancet, 389(10082), 1907-1918.

Francová, A., Chrastný, V., Šillerová, H., Vítková, M., Kocourková, J., & Komárek, M. (2017). Evaluating the suitability of different environmental samples for tracing atmospheric pollution in industrial areas. Environmental Pollution, 220, 286-297.

Malviya, D. K. (2016). Adverse Health Effect of Air Pollution-A Review. International Journal of Research, 3(4), 386-9.

Matz, C. J., Egyed, M., Hocking, R., Seenundun, S., Charman, N., & Edmonds, N. (2019). Human health effects of traffic-related air pollution (TRAP): a scoping review protocol. Systematic reviews, 8(1), 223.

Nowak, D. J., Hirabayashi, S., Doyle, M., McGovern, M., & Pasher, J. (2018). Air pollution removal by urban forests in Canada and its effect on air quality and human health. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 29, 40-48.

Saini, D. K., Garg, S. K., & Kumar, M. (2019). Major air pollutants and their effects on plant and human health: a review. Plant Archives, 19(2), 3273-3278.

Scott, D. A., Colquitt, J., Loveman, E., & Royle, P. (2018). PRM88- The advancement of tools for automating data extraction in systematic reviews. Value in Health, 21, S370.

Virgili, G., Acosta, R., Bentley, S. A., Giacomelli, G., Allcock, C., & Evans, J. R. (2018). Reading aids for adults with low vision. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (4).

Welch, V., Petticrew, M., Petkovic, J., Moher, D., Waters, E., White, H., Tugwell, P., & PRISMA-Equity Bellagio group. (2016). Extending the PRISMA statement to equity-focused systematic reviews (PRISMA-E 2012): explanation and elaboration. Journal of Development Effectiveness, 8(2), 287-324.

Whiting, P., Savović, J., Higgins, J. P., Caldwell, D. M., Reeves, B. C., Shea, B., Davies, P., Kleijnen, J., & Churchill, R. (2016). ROBIS: a new tool to assess risk of bias in systematic reviews was developed. Journal of clinical epidemiology, 69, 225-234.

Yu, C. H., Fan, Z., Lioy, P. J., Baptista, A., Greenberg, M., & Laumbach, R. J. (2016). A novel mobile monitoring approach to characterize spatial and temporal variation in traffic-related air pollutants in an urban community. Atmospheric environment, 141, 161-173.

Zhang, X., Zhang, X., & Chen, X. (2017). Happiness in the air: How does a dirty sky affect mental health and subjective well-being?. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 85, 81-94.

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