Air pollution is one the most significant environmental hazards faced by countries in South Asia, and rapid urbanization and motorization in urban areas, coupled with burgeoning population has led to considerable deterioration of air quality. The latest Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study identified air pollution as one of the most significant health risks for South Asia. High levels of air pollution are also linked to high economic cost and welfare losses (5% -8% of the country’s GDP).

The subcontinent faces a myriad of environmental health challenges, but scientific understanding of air pollution leading to effective intervention strategies for better air quality is very limited. This limited understanding arise primarily due to capacity issues at various levels including:

  • Research challenges
    • Limited technical capacity
    • Little or no focus on professional development of young researchers
    •  Limited financial support for conducting research
    •  Repetitive research projects
  • Communication and knowledge exchange
    • Lack of communication at the national, regional, and local level
    • Limited or no documentation of past and ongoing work
    • Limited access to peer-reviewed journals at academic and research institutions due to high subscription costs
    • Lack of representation at international forum
    • Lack of exchange of information between different stakeholders- scientists, activists, media, entrepreneurs and policymakers
    • Limited science communication and outreach