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Building capacity to improve air quality in South Asia


ICIMOD headquarters, Kathmandu

Date & Time

19 December 2022 to 20 December 2022

Organisers: Atmospheric Watch Initiative – ICIMOD and Duke University, USA


About the event

This workshop builds upon our workshop on low-cost sensors for air quality monitoring, which we hosted in May 2022. This two-day workshop will bring together scientists from seven South Asian countries and subject matter experts from USA to share progress on visualising and analysing data from the large network of TSI BlueSky sensors that have been deployed throughout the subcontinent. We will also discuss progress made on ingesting such data into the ICIMOD’s regional air quality dashboard.



ICIMOD’s Regional Programme on Atmosphere aims to improve understanding of air pollutant emissions, atmospheric processes and change, and impacts and promote mitigation and policy solutions while building awareness, capacity, and collaboration in the HKH and upwind regions. The programme aims to promote the adoption of effective measures and policies to reduce air pollution and its impacts within the HKH through improved knowledge and enhanced capacity of our regional partners.

Duke University is a private research university in Durham, North Carolina, USA. The university has been working on air quality issues mostly related to observation, machine learning, and data analytics in South Asian countries (Bhutan, Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka). Their project ‘Building capacity to improve air quality in South Asia: Reducing PM2.5 through low-cost sensor network driven policy decisions’ (October 2020–September 2023) is funded by the U.S. State Department. The project implementing partners are university research groups in each of the South Asian countries: Dhaka University (Bangladesh), Sherubtse College (Bhutan), IIT Kanpur (India), Central Department of Environmental Science – Tribhuvan University (Nepal), and NUST Islamabad (Pakistan).

The main goal of their project is to develop and implement plans to reduce PM2.5 to more healthy levels in highly polluted regions in each country through a combination of low-cost satellite image-enhanced PM2.5 sensor networks, integrated with meteorological modelling and source apportionment.



Time (NPT)

Time (NPT) Programme Speaker
08:30 Pick-up at hotels International participants
09:00–09:30 Registration All participants
09:30–10:00 Welcome remarks Bidya Banmali Pradhan, ICIMOD, and Mike Bergin, Duke University
10:00–10:40 Technical presentation Vasileios Papapostolou, South Coast Air Quality Management District
10:40–11:00 Tea/coffee break and group photo  
11:00–11:30 Technical presentation Noora Khaleel and Thameem Razzaq, Maldives National University
11:30–12:00 Technical presentation Gayan Bowatte, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
12:00–12:30 Discussion  
12:30–13:30 Lunch break  
13:30–14:15 Discussion: Stakeholder outreach and long-term sustainability of sensor networks All participants
14:15–14:45 Technical presentation Abdus Salam and team members, Dhaka University, Bangladesh
14:45–15:00 Discussion  
15:00–15:30 Break:  ICIMOD tug of war!  
15:30–16:30 Air quality management tools for South Asia: Lessons learned from World Bank regional science–policy dialogue Bhupesh Adhikary and Siva Praveen Puppala, ICIMOD
16:30–16:45 Closing comments for Day 1 Mike Bergin, Duke University, and Jay Pal Shrestha, U.S. Embassy Kathmandu
17:00 Depart for dinner  
17:30 Dinner reception All participants

Time (NPT)

Time (NPT) Programme Speaker
08:30 Pick-up at hotels International participants
09:00–09:30 Technical presentation Sherubtse College, Bhutan
09:30–10:00 Technical presentation TU-CDES, Nepal
10:00–10:30 Discussion and tea/coffee break  
10:30–10:45 Real-time data display to sensitise the public and mitigate local sources Raize Adhikari, Anup Neupane, and Trailokaya Raj Bajgain, TU-CDES and Duke University
10:45–11:15 Technical presentation Fahim Khokhar & student

NUST-Islamabad, Pakistan

11:15–11:30 Technical presentation IIT Kanpur, India (presented by Duke)
11:30–12:00 Discussion  
12:00–12:45 Lunch break  
13:00 Depart for the ICIMOD Knowledge Park at Godavari  
13:45–14:00 Follow-up thoughts Vasileios Papapostolou, South Coast Air Quality Management District
14:00–14:15 Brainstorm: Key publications  
14:15–15:15 Tour of the ICIMOD Knowledge Park at Godavari  
15:15–15:45 Report out on planned publications 5 min for each in-country team
15:45–16:30 Future planning

·        Final report to the U.S. State Department

·        Next workshop location and dates

16:30 Return to ICIMOD and hotels