Air pollution is now considered the world’s largest environmental health threat, accounting for 7 million deaths worldwideevery year. Air pollution causes and exacerbates a number of diseases, ranging from asthma tocancer, pulmonary illnesses and heart disease. Outdoor air pollution and particulate matter, one of its major components, have been classified as carcinogenic to humans by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (WHO, 2021). Focusing on the Lower Mekong Region, haze has been a seasonal problem for over a decade.
UNESCAP has a principle agreement with SERVIR-Mekong to cooperate with its project “Building Pan-Asia Partnership for Geospatial Air Pollution Information,” which covers the whole ASEAN region. The cooperation will revolve around sharing of technology, data, and knowledge for air quality monitoring between SERVIR-Mekong and the technical partner of UNESCAP, i.e., The Korean National Institute of Environment Research (NIER),to utilize the data from the Geostationary Environment Monitoring Spectrometer (GEMS), launched by the Republic of Korea in February 2020. UNESCAP will also aim to buildcapacity of the ASEAN member countries, where SERVIR-Mekong can contribute and introduce the tools for possible adoption.ADPC is an autonomous international organization that works to build the resilience of people and institutions to disasters and climate change impacts in Asia and the Pacific.
Implemented by the Geospatial Information Department of ADPC, SERVIR-Mekong is a joint initiative of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). It usespublicly available satellite imagery and technologies to address challenges related to air pollution, wildfire, and agricultural burning in the Lower Mekong.As a continued collaboration to enhance the capacity of UNESCAP and SERVIR-Mekong stakeholders, a regional training on “Air Quality Forecasting and Tools” is being organized from September 20-22, 2022,in partnership with the NASA Science Coordination Office. This training is a follow-up to thetraining on basic satellite remote sensing for air quality monitoring organized in May 2022.