Forest fires and crop burning often create hazardous levels of particulate matter in all three countries
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — An upcoming virtual workshop aims to educate stakeholders about air quality monitoring and management in southeast Asia as part of the ongoing research effort Building Air Quality Monitoring Capacity in Southeast Asia (AQSEA), led by RTI International, a nonprofit research institute.
The workshop will be held April 26-28 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Thailand/Laos/Vietnam local time (UTC + 07.00) each day.
The workshop will include discussions about air quality issues across the three regions, current air quality monitoring capacity and new monitoring data being collected by AQSEA, and potential applications of the data. During the workshop, attendees will learn about the importance of air quality measurement, how to monitor air quality using sensors, and the strengths and limitations of sensor data.
AQSEA, funded by the U.S. Department of State, is being implemented by RTI in collaboration with partners from Chiang Mai University (CMU), National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand (NARIT), National University of Laos (NUOL) and the Research Center for Environmental Monitoring and Modeling (CEMM).
The project team is evaluating and deploying low-cost fine particulate matter sensors across Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam to fill gaps in publicly available air quality monitoring data. The project aims to engage multiple stakeholder groups including policymakers, academia, private sector and environmental awareness groups.
“We look forward to continuing to expand the monitoring program and engage with stakeholders to help understand local versus regional impacts and foster cross-regional collaboration,” said Prakash Doraiswamy, Ph.D., a research environmental scientist at RTI who is leading the project. “This workshop will allow stakeholders to learn more about air quality monitoring efforts and the AQSEA project and to brainstorm applications of the data.”
Prior to the project, Vietnam and Laos lacked any particulate matter data in the public domain, while Thailand had several regulatory-grade air quality monitors deployed across the country along with a network of other 300 low-cost sensors. Forest fires and crop burning, among other sources, push particulate matter to hazardous levels in all three countries, in addition to vehicular and industrial emissions in urban areas. The project, which began in 2020 and will continue through 2023, is improving the spatial resolution of the air quality monitoring data.
Members of the government, academia, research institutes, environmental groups and other interested stakeholders in southeast Asia are encouraged to join the workshop.