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The HKH receives significant amounts of air pollution from within and outside of the region. This has major impacts, affecting the health of people and ecosystems, the climate, cryosphere, monsoon patterns, and agriculture. The Regional Atmosphere Programme works to enable RMCs to use science-based knowledge on air quality, atmospheric processes, and climate so as to shape policies and actions leading to air pollution mitigation for improved environment and human health.
At a glance
Shape policies and actions backed by science-based knowledge on air quality, atmospheric processes, and climate to mitigate air pollution for improved environmental and human health.
Bidya Banmali Pradhan
Programme Manager, Atmosphere
The Programme works includes improving scientific understanding of emissions sources, atmospheric processes and change, and air pollution impacts in the HKH.
As of 2020, the Programme will streamline activities towards these objectives by restructuring the existing two initiatives. The Atmosphere Initiative and Brick Initiative are henceforth to be known as Atmospheric Watch and Air Pollution Solutions respectively.
The HKH is vulnerable to increasing air pollution and climate change. It has experienced a rapid increase in air pollution in recent decades, with far-reaching and hazardous consequences on environmental and human health.
In many places, both urban and rural, pollutants have reached alarming levels, threatening the health of millions of people in the region, particularly women, children, and the elderly; in each of these groups, the poor are the most vulnerable. The socioeconomic impact of this slow-motion disaster on the environment, human health, and society is immense. The largest sources of air pollution in the HKH are solid waste, household emissions from cook stoves, and open burning of agricultural residue. Forest fires, diesel engines, brick kilns, and fossil fuel based energy production also comprise a significant portion of air pollution.
In recent decades, the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) has been affected by rising emissions of air pollutants from urban, industrial, and rural sources. This has raised concerns about deteriorating air quality, impacts on health and visibility, changes in atmospheric heating and cooling, increasing stratospheric pollution above the Tibetan Plateau, deposition of light absorbing substances onto snow and ice surfaces, and increasing melting of the cryosphere in the HKH.
Learn about a wide range of air quality related issues through videos and radio stories!
At higher elevations in the HKH, black carbon and other aerosols contribute to a temperature increase that is among the swiftest in the world, leading to rapid melting of the Himalayan cryosphere and resulting in consequent changes in downstream water availability.
The problems facing the people and mountains of the HKH aren’t just solved with brilliant theories. They are solved by having a hands-on understanding of the challenges of the region, and a truly holistic approach that places as much emphasis on implementation as it does on understanding.
Events around the HKH
Air pollution is a growing problem that needs increased awareness among the old and the young. With this illustrated book, we hope to plant seeds of change in the minds of young children.
News and features
Our programmes are oriented towards integrating knowledge and turning research into action.