The U.S. Embassy, in partnership with Kathmandu Living Lab (KLL), organized a two-day South Asia Air Quality Tech Camp on July 30-31st. As public concern about air quality rises and governments pay increasing attention to the issue, this TechCamp welcomes participants from seven South Asian countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Ambassador Randy Berry articulated his concern that high levels of pollution can have lasting impacts on the cognitive skills of young children. “Air pollution takes a costly toll on the public health, economies, and environment across the region, so we need a regional response. Finding a solution to the current air pollution crisis is a daunting task, so we must be ambitious,” Ambassador Berry added.
According to a press release issued by U.S. Embassy in Nepal, many presenters came from cities—like Kathmandu—grappling with extreme levels of air pollution, including New Delhi, Kolkata, Lahore, Dhaka, and Karachi. The event will provide participants with state-of-the art, innovative tools and technologies to help amplify their voice to address air quality issues in the region, and aims to address political, social, and scientific facets of the problem and improve the ability of civil society, media, and other influencers to engage governments, empower the public, and take action to improve air quality in South Asia. As part of the program, the TechCamp plans to fund follow-on efforts through small grants designed to help participants apply their newly acquired skills and move their technology solutions into action.