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Interaction workshop

Air pollution media interaction workshop for Nepal and Pakistan


ICIMOD, Lalitpur, Nepal

Date & Time

16 November 2021


Siva Praveen Puppala


Air pollution issues have caught the attention of the general public, policy makers, and researchers, but there is a lack of common understanding of this complex issue by various stakeholders. Herein lies the critical role of the media and especially environmental journalists in the region and across the globe.

Mass media can be critical in shaping public perceptions as well as policies around air pollution. The topic is among the least reported issues, and reporting is mostly one dimensional and sometimes even misleading. Headlines about countries or cities ranking as most polluted and pictures showing air pollution engulfing the public dominate the news on air pollution in the region. Yet, health implications are reported fleetingly and general misconceptions are abound that the air is clean as long as it is not hazy or dusty or that air pollution is an urban problem, among other false perceptions. The limited reporting could be due to the complex nature of air pollution science, as well as inadequate information available to journalists. Negligible interaction between scientists and journalists compounds the situation. There is discrepancy in information exchange between scientists and the media. With unclear correlation of air pollution and how it is linked to environmental and social factors, an opportunity to strengthen public awareness is lost.


Workshop objective 

This interaction workshop is in line our initiative’s objective to build awareness about atmospheric science so as to influence behaviour change, particularly around air pollution. Media channels can help create enabling environments for both policy as well as community-level dialogues. Radio is a highly effective medium for localized and timely information transfer in the context of South Asia as it has a large user base and low barrier to access.


Expected outcomes

Following the workshop, we expect the level of message penetration to be more resource and time efficient and effective. Radio is one of the most direct vehicles for the dissemination of key messages and to help bring about behavioural change at the community level. Collaboration with radio networks can cascade tailored information at the community level, targeted through accessible language and different types of programme and timings of dissemination. Such institutional collaboration enables co-creation and ownership of issues. It will also allow scaling of deliverables and approaches beyond tasks and timelines.