Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 65.20
Liaison Denice Koljonen
Submission Date Feb. 17, 2022

STARS v2.2

Boston College
IN-49: Innovation C

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.50 / 0.50 Denice Koljonen
assoc. director, strategic services
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Boston College's Global Observatory on Pollution and Health: Human Health and the Ocean Report

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:

In 2018, Boston College established the Global Observatory on Pollution and Health to track efforts to control pollution and prevent pollution-related diseases that account for an estimated 9 million deaths worldwide each year.
Research through the Observatory takes on major issues at the intersection of pollution, human health, and public policy. Particular segments of the problem are studied in-depth – how it affects particular countries, different populations, like children, or particular diseases, like cancer. The reports are disseminated broadly and aimed at the general public as well as policy makers. The objective of the Observatory is to mobilize society to see pollution as a serious threat, change public policy, prevent pollution, and, ultimately, save lives.” The Observatory provides oversight in order to effectively track the global deployment of pollution-control tools and monitor progress on pollution control.
Each year the Observatory issues the Global Observatory on Pollution and Health Report. What makes the Observatory different is the comprehensive nature of the analysis. Other institutions are looking at air pollution, but no one else is looking at all the different forms of pollution. The Observatory uses data analyses to study trends and patterns of pollution and provides early warnings of emerging problems. It generates maps and visual displays to illustrate its findings.

The most recent report (2020) focuses on ocean pollution. It is widespread and getting worse, and when toxins in the oceans make landfall they imperil the health and well-being of more than 3 billion people, according to a new report by an international coalition of scientists led by Boston College’s Global Observatory on Pollution on Health and the Centre Scientifique de Monaco, supported by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.

Atop the proposals to remediate ocean pollution, the researchers recommend: banning coal combustion and the production of single-use plastics, controlling coastal pollution, and expanding marine protected areas.

The study is the first comprehensive examination of the impacts of ocean pollution on human health. It was published in the online edition of the Annals of Global Health and released at the Monaco International Symposium on Human Health & the Ocean in a Changing World, convened in Monaco and online by the Prince Albert II de Monaco Foundation, the Centre Scientifique de Monaco and Boston College.

Three to four undergraduate students work in the Observatory throughout the academic year. Additionally, in summer 2021 BC obtained some external grant funding to support a dozen summer interns. The plan is to continue the summer internship program for undergraduate students.

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Global Observatory:

Although the establishment of the Global Observatory was reported in our previous STARS submission, the global report on Ocean Pollution is based on new research since 2018.

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.