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Two Punjabs, One Atmosphere





Date & Time

31 January 2022 to 03 February 2022

Organizer: ICIMOD, U.S. State Department



About the workshop

Air pollution is a severe problem across South Asia, especially in the region around the Indo- Gangetic Plain. The Greater Punjab, located in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent, spanning across the borders of India and Pakistan, experiences high levels of pollution with similar sources, cycles, and impacts. This shared issue demands a transboundary collaborative approach, including a regional network of specialists working on various aspects of air pollution and knowledge sharing for optimal and broad scale results that benefit all. To address this gap, we are organizing this regional workshop in collaboration with the U.S. State Department to help develop pathways for dialogue and knowledge sharing for effective air pollution mitigation in the Greater Punjab region.



This workshop aims to bring together researchers, practitioners and experts from diverse sectors and disciplines – air quality monitoring, health, gender equality and social inclusion, livelihoods, knowledge management and communication, as well as those working on brick kilns, open burning and transport sectors, and regional pollution issues like smog and fog – to share their knowledge and experience on air pollution, mainly in the Greater Punjab. The workshop will support the establishment of a network of specialists to assist in the development of a regional perspective that has the potential to influence decision makers across the Greater Punjab.


Expected outcomes

  • Enhanced understanding of the current scenario of air pollution in the region
  • Knowledge exchange on the challenges faced while working on air pollution issues in the region and potential solutions
  • Air pollution mitigation opportunities and possible collaborative action


Topics for discussion

  • Sources and drivers of air pollution across the Greater Punjab
  • Potential targets for action for improved air quality
  • Major challenges in planning and implementing mitigation action
  • Suggestions for policy makers on how to address air quality issues
  • Discussion on needs for joint/collaborative research and action
  • Specific health and social impacts of poor air quality in the region
  • Issues that need to be addressed in a Punjab specific consensus report
  • Way forward



South Asia, especially the region around the Indo Gangetic Plains, is a global air pollution hotspot. Air pollution is the biggest risk factor in mortality and morbidity in India and second biggest risk factor in Pakistan. The Punjab region – shared between India and Pakistan – faces similar air quality issues with emission sources such as residential biomass burning, transportation, industrial activity, power generation, open waste burning, agricultural practice (including open residue burning). Furthermore, crop residue burning is one of the most prominent air pollution emission sources across the region. Meteorological parameters drive dispersion and transport of pollutants across the region as well as inflow and outflow across the Punjab. Transport and transformation of emitted and then mixed pollutant plumes, in conjunction with stagnation caused by regional orography and wider atmospheric conditions at receptor sites causes severe air pollution episodes or haze events.


ICIMOD’s Regional Programme on Atmosphere

ICIMOD is a regional intergovernmental learning and knowledge sharing centre serving the eight regional member countries of the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan – and is based in Kathmandu, Nepal. Our 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. We are also involved in identifying, testing, and piloting mitigation solutions; capacity building and outreach; fostering regional collaboration and cross-border network building; and contributing to policy at local, national, regional, and global levels.



Time (in NPT) Programme Speakers
Day 1 – 31 January 2022

Master of ceremony: Maxim Shrestha

Opening session 
10:15–10:20 Introduction to the programme Bidya Banmali Pradhan, Programme Manager, Atmosphere, ICIMOD
10:20–10:25 Welcome remarks Pema Gyamtsho, Director General, ICIMOD
10:25–10:30 Opening remarks Jatinder Singh Kamyotra, Ex – Member Secretary, Central Pollution Control Board and Regional Facilitator of the Malé Declaration
10:30–10:35 Opening remarks Farzana Altaf Shah, Director General, Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency
10:35–10:40  Opening remarks Laura Djuragic, Regional Environmental Officer for South Asia, U.S. Department of State
Theme 1 – Air pollution monitoring and health impacts

Moderator:  Bhupesh Adhikary, Senior Air Quality Specialist, Water and Air, ICIMOD
                         Siva Praveen Puppala, Programme Coordinator, Atmospheric Watch Initiative, ICIMOD

10:40–12:10 PM and Health Effects in Two Punjabs Matters – What is Known and What Needs to be Done Haider Khwaja, Associate Professor, New York State Department of Health’s Wadsworth Center
Air quality modeling perspective for air pollution across Punjabs Rajesh Kumar, Project scientist, National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)
Low-cost sensor and citizen science Michael Howard Bergin, Sternberg Family Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Duke University
Ground based air pollution monitoring Ravindra Khaiwal, Professor, Community Medicine and School of Public Health, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER)
Remote sensing based air pollution monitoring Muhammad Fahim Khokhar, HOD Environmental Sciences, Institute of Environmental Sciences & Engineering (IESE)
12:10–12:55 Panel discussion Peter DeCarlo, Associate Professor, John Hopkins University

Gufran-Ullah Beig, Founder Project Director-SAFAR, Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune

Farzana Altaf Shah, Director General, Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency

Eri Saikawa, Associate Professor, Department  of Environmental  Sciences, Emory University

Poornima Prabhakaran, Head-Environmental Health & Additional Professor, and Deputy Director, Centre for Environmental Health Public Health Foundation of India

12:55–13:10 Open discussion  
13:10–13:15 Closing Bhupesh Adhikary, Senior Air Quality Specialist, Water and Air, ICIMOD
Day 2 – 1 February 2022
Theme 2 – Public understanding and social dimensions of air pollution

Master of ceremony: Maxim Shrestha

Moderator:  Omair Ahmad, Managing Editor – South Asia, Third Pole

10:15–10:20 Introduction Omair Ahmad, Managing Editor – South Asia, Third Pole
10:20–10:30 Access and use of information aspect includes current scenarios and discourse around air pollution Amandeep Sandhu, Author and social/political commentator
10:30-10:40 Contribution to and exposure and impact of air pollution by different socio-economic groups Zulfiqar Ali, Associate Professor, University of the Punjab
10:40-10:50 Gender differences in indoor and outdoor air pollution in the context of South Asia Uma Rajarathnam , Regional Adviser, Chemical Safety, Environment & Air Pollution, World Health Organization South-East Asia Region – WHO SEARO
10:50-11:00 Panel discussion – Introduction Omair Ahmad,  Managing Editor, South Asia, Third Pole
11:00-12:00 Panel discussion Maryam Shabir, Senior Research Associate, Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI)

Irfan Younas, CEO and Project Director, Kadam Communications & Consultants Private Ltd

Debajit Palit, Director, Rural Energy and Livelihoods, The Energy & Resources Institute (TERI)

Fiona Lambe, Research Fellow, Stockholm Environment Institute

Anumita Roy Chowdhury, Executive Director Research And Advocacy, Centre for Science and Environment

12:00-12:30 Open discussion
12:30-12:35 Discussion summary Omair Ahmad, Managing Editor – South Asia, Third Pole
12:35-12:40 Himalayan University Consortium (HUC)’s – Regional collaborations Chi Huyen Truong, Programme Coordinator, Himalayan University Consortium, ICIMOD
12:40-12:45 Closing Maxim Shrestha
Day 3 – 2 February 2022
Theme 3 – Prominent air pollution sources and potential solutions

Master of ceremony: Maxim Shrestha

Moderator:  Bidya Banmali Pradhan, Programme Manager, Atmosphere, ICIMOD

10:15-10:20 Introduction Bidya Banmali Pradhan, Programme Manager, Atmosphere, ICIMOD
10:20–11:55 Open burning Eswaran Somanathan, Professor, Indian Statistical Institute
Residential cooking Donee Alexander, Senior Director of Evidence and Impact, Clean Cooking Alliance (CCA)
Urban planning Raghu Babu Nukala, Project Director, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
Construction and municipal solid waste burning Ajay Singh Nagpure, Program Head – Air Quality, World Resources Institute (WRI) India
11:55–12:40 Panel discussion Karuna Bajracharya, Nepal Country Manager, Clean Cooking Alliance (CCA)

Bhushan Tuladhar, Chief of Party, USAID Swachchha Hawa, FHI 360, Nepal

Asad Mahmood, Head of Technical Services & Company Secretary, National Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority (NEECA)

Sandeep Roy Choudhury, Director and co-founder at VNV Advisory Services

Mehar Abdul Haq, Senior Vice Chairman, Brick Kilns Owners’ Association Pakistan and Founding Member, Federation of Asian Brick Kiln Associations (FABKA)

Ihsanullah Marwat, Research Fellow (Energy Efficiency), SAARC Energy Center

12:40–12:55 Open discussion
12:55-13:00 Closing Bidya Banmali Pradhan, Programme Manager, Atmosphere, ICIMOD
Day 4 – 3 February 2022
Theme 4 – Winter fog, smog, regional collaboration

Master of ceremony: Maxim Shrestha

Moderator:  Philippus Wester, Programme Manager, Mountain Knowledge & Action Networks, ICIMOD

10:15-10:20 Introduction Philippus Wester, Programme Manager, Mountain Knowledge & Action Networks, ICIMOD
10:20–11:45 Assessment of Winter fog Ritesh Gautam, Lead Senior Scientist, Environmental Defense Fund
Using satellite data and geospatial technology to co-develop innovative solutions for regional scale Aaron Naeger, Research Scientist, University of Alabama in Huntsville

Falguni Patadia, Scientist, Science and Technology Institute (STI), Universities Space Research Application (USRA), NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, and SERVIR AST Portfolio Manager

Promote regional co-operation in South Asia in the field of environment Md Masumur Rahman, Director General, South Asia Co-operative Environment Programme (SACEP)
11:45–12:30 Panel discussion Jatinder Singh Kamyotra, Regional Facilitator of the Malé Declaration

Prakash Bhave,  Research Scientist, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Duke University

Pratima Singh, Research Scientist, Center for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP)

Ihsanullah Marwat, Research Fellow (Energy Efficiency), SAARC Energy Center

Nazifa Butt, Senior Manager, Climate and Energy Programme, WWF-Pakistan

12:30-12:45 Open discussion
Closing session
12:45–13:15 Way forward, recommendations, and closing remarks Farid Ahmad, Head Strategic Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Unit, ICIMOD

Nand Kishor Agrawal, Programme Manager, Adaptation and Resilience Building, ICIMOD

13:15-13:30 Vote of thanks Siva Praveen Puppala, Programme Coordinator, Atmospheric Watch Initiative, ICIMOD

Monica Medina, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, U.S. Department of State