Back to news
7 Jul 2022 | Air and air quality

Young entrepreneurs blend sustainable businesses with air pollution solutions

Mona Sharma

2 mins Read

70% Complete
ICIMOD worked with young entrepreneurs to showcase practical and sustainable solutions to mitigate air pollution impacts on the environment and society in the HKH region. (Photo: Pradeep Kumar Shakya)

Under our Air Pollution Solutions Initiative, we have initiated a campaign – the Climate Action4Clean Air (CA4CA) initiative – to help young entrepreneurs showcase practical and sustainable solutions to mitigate air pollution impacts on the environment and society in the HKH region. Our CA4CA incubation programme invited innovative ideas (technological and operational) from young entrepreneurs and startups, who explored markets that also present opportunities to reduce industry-based emissions and pollution. Our aim through this initiative is to gradually enable industry-level approaches that promote environment-friendly business solutions to mitigate air pollution.

The selection process for the incubation programme was rigorous. We selected 15 businesses each from Bhutan and Nepal, out of the 59 applications we received. The 30 finalists made pitches to a panel of financial and business specialists, following which we selected five entrepreneurs from each country. We then connected these entrepreneurs with mentors who guided them to increase their product’s adaptability, scalability, and sustainability. The business incubation and mentorship programme encouraged the entrepreneurs to develop commercially viable approaches and adopt green solutions.

entrepreneurs 1

The selected entrepreneurs received mentorship on how to build sustainable businesses that also help mitigate air pollution.

On Wednesday, 6 July 2022, the entrepreneurs came together to share their experiences through a cross-learning visit, roundtable discussion, and presentations. Izabella Koziell, Deputy Director General, ICIMOD, appreciated the efforts of the awardee enterprises and shared that CA4CA shows how small steps contribute towards transboundary issues and to the wider global agenda. Narayan Prasad Sharma Duwadi, Joint Secretary, Department of Industries, Commerce and Supplies, Nepal, stated that this programme illustrates the important connections between entrepreneurship and issues around climate change and green economy. He added that initiatives such as CA4CA help build an entrepreneurial mindset for holistic business development. Indu Bikram Joshi, General Secretary, Ministry of Science and Technology, Science and Technology Division, Nepal, highlighted this initiative as a good example of how three essential pillars for business development – businesses, the government, and research institutions – can work to build a green entrepreneurial ecosystem.

South Asia, including the HKH region, is vulnerable to increasing air pollution and climate change impacts, which have accelerated in recent decades, with far-reaching consequences for environmental and human health. Contributors to poor air quality in Bhutan and Nepal include the manufacturing and construction industries, vehicle emissions, and waste burning. Seasonal variations in pollution exist, with the highest levels occurring in the dry season (December to April). The largest sources of air pollution include household emissions from cookstoves, open burning of agricultural residue and solid waste, forest fires, vehicles, brick kilns, and fossil fuel-based energy production. The problem persists, causing concern not just for the atmosphere and human health, but also affecting biodiversity, water resources, soil health, global temperatures, and climate.

ICIMOD will continue to reach out to young entrepreneurs and support innovative creative ideas across the region. Air pollution solutions require coordination, cooperation, and innovation from all sectors, especially for mobilising youth and spreading awareness. Our CA4CA campaign is a first step towards building an enabling environment and exploring practical, cost-effective pathways to mitigate air pollution through a mix of science, policy, governance, and technological solutions.


Stay current

Stay up to date on what’s happening around the HKH with our most recent publications and find out how you can help by subscribing to our mailing list.

16 Jan 2015 Atmosphere Initiative
HKH scientists plan to investigate the problem of fog in the Indo-Gangetic Plain

Since the winter of 1998-99, researchers have documented widespread fog that occurred over a 1,500 km distance in north-eastern Pakistan, ...

27 Dec 2015 Atmosphere Initiative
First ever air quality monitoring for Chitwan National Park

The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in collaboration with the National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC) has established ...

29 Feb 2016 Atmosphere Initiative
Winter Study on Outdoor/Indoor Air Quality Measurements in Chitwan

A study of particulate matter (PM10) in ambient conditions was initiated in January 2016 by the Atmosphere Initiative of the ...

12 Jul 2016 Atmosphere Initiative
Dispelling Air Pollution Myths in Kathmandu

People in the region have taken a great interest in air pollution. The risks of air pollution affecting people may ...

16 Jul 2019 Atmosphere Initiative
South–South learnings for future collaboration in air quality and health research in the HKH

Day 1 of the workshop was dedicated to the existing literature on air quality and health, whereas Day 2 focused ...

Building air quality monitoring skills within the HKH to ensure reliable data generation

ICIMOD’s Atmosphere Initiative together with government counterparts (the Department of Environment in Nepal and the National Environment Commission in Bhutan) ...

20 Nov 2018 Atmosphere Initiative
Valley Mayors Commit to Clean Valley Air

The two-hour event included experts’ briefings on the current scientific understanding of air pollution, on the possible solutions that municipalities ...

21 Jun 2017 Atmosphere Initiative
ICIMOD Supports National Action Plan for SLCPs Mitigation in Nepal

As the issue if SLCPs is a recent one, Nepal does not have policies that specifically address it. The Atmosphere ...