South–South learnings for future collaboration in air quality and health research in the HKH

   TwitCount

A two-day workshop on air pollution has built a platform for stakeholders from the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region to come together and share knowledge on air pollution and health, promoting collaboration and related research. The regional workshop on “Air pollution and health in Nepal and the HKH” – organized from 13 to 14 June 2019 by ICIMOD and the University of Nottingham – helped share existing knowledge, identify research gaps, and facilitate South–South learning from elsewhere in the HKH. 

Day 1 of the workshop was dedicated to the existing literature on air quality and health, whereas Day 2 focused on open crop burning, indoor air pollution and exposure, and ambient air pollution. Two group discussion sessions broadly discussed the (1) research gaps in air quality and health research and building collaborations in the HKH and (2) an integrated approach to understanding air pollution and health. 

ICIMOD presented an overview of ongoing interdisciplinary studies linking air pollution and health. A common finding across studies points to behaviour change as a vital factor in effective air pollution mitigation and health awareness efforts. Shekhar Ghimire, Director of Administration and Finance, ICIMOD, highlighted the need to recognize the increasing threat of air pollution on human and environmental health.

In her keynote speech, Charlotte Bolton, Professor of Respiratory Medicine – Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Nottingham, noted a dramatic increase in cases of chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases among women from low-income countries compared with that among women from high-income countries. Bolton stressed on the need to address this threat in locally appropriate ways.

Findings from Bhutan, China, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and the UK on current research in air quality and health impacts of air pollution were shared through 28 presentations and over 10 posters. (Photo: ICIMOD)

The workshop was attended by a good mix of participants – medical practitioners, atmospheric scientists, sociologists, and policy makers from across the region – sharing their experiences and discussing the gaps in forging stronger collaborations.