Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS)

COMSATS Organizes Talk on “Air Pollution in Pakistan” In Commemoration of the Earth Day 2019

Home   /   COMSATS Organizes Talk on “Air Pollution in Pakistan” In Commemoration of the Earth Day 2019

The Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS) in collaboration with the American Institute of Pakistan Studies (AIPS) and the Centre for Climate Research & Development (CCRD) organized a consultative dialogue on “Air Pollution in Pakistan” in commemoration of the Earth Day 2019. The main highlight of the event was the talk on “Air Pollution in Pakistan: Current Scenario and the Way Forward” by Prof. Dr. Gabriel Filippeli, Director of Center for Urban Health, Department of Earth Sciences at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI).

The event was opened by Dr. S. M. Junaid Zaidi, the Executive Director of COMSATS. In his welcome remarks, Dr. Zaidi thanked the participants and noted that air pollution in Pakistan is causing serious health problems. He quoted China’s example of success in combating air pollution. He informed that COMSATS is establishing COMSATS Centre for Climate & Sustainability (CCCS) involving twelve of its Member States.

Mr. Hassan Nasir Jamy, Secretary, Ministry of Climate Change, Government of Pakistan, in his keynote address underscored that strategies are required to tackle urban air pollution that has increased the disease burden especially among children. He mentioned that the problem of smog in Pakistan is being curbed with the patronage of international partners like the World Bank. He suggested adopting measures such as trees plantation for reducing the effect of climate change.

In his talk, Prof. Dr. Gabriel Filippeli appreciated the interest of government and other stakeholders towards addressing the issue of climate change. Prof. Filippeli stated that air quality varies globally from continent to continent and so are associated challenges. He enumerated the negative effects of bad air from susceptibility to respiratory diseases to reduction in brain cognitive functions to reducing the life span of an individual. He elucidated the association of particle matter (PM) 2.5 and PM 10 with diseases of upper and lower respiratory tract.

He pointed out that Pakistan is far behind in curbing the problem of bad air despite the fact that source of the problem is known. He cited the example of China where significant measures were taken to avoid bad air during the Olympic Games. He considered adequate scientific knowledge and expert programmes mandatory for dealing with this issue along with funding.

The talk was followed by a discussion session moderated by Dr. Anjum Rasheed, Assistant Professor at Assistant Professor at Centre for Climate Research & Development (CCRD), COMSATS University Islamabad. During the session, a number of issues related to the theme were discussed, in addition to a few Q&As with Dr. Filippeli. In connection to the strategic and policy interventions that could be taken to remedy the situation of air pollution in Pakistan, Dr. Filippeli indicated the following important: Improvement in fuel standards with lesser sulfur content; phasing out malpractices resulting in poor air quality incrementally; and incorporation of RETs in the energy mix as a cleaner option that would ameliorate the environment greatly. He considered photovoltaic, and wind energy as viable options for Pakistan in this regard.

Director General Pak-EPA, Ms. Farzana Altaf Shah, indicated other aspects pertaining to causes, monitoring, and management of air pollution. She highlighted that in addition to what fuel is used, how it is used also determines how much air pollution it will cause. In order to incorporate better practices in the use of fuel and reduction of air pollution in the society, she proposed strong legislations that may include economic disincentives.

Based on recent research, Dr. Filippeli further highlighted the negative implications of pollution in the form of health hazards especially affecting Neural, cardiac, and hepatic health that tends to affect more the already under-privileged/low-income parts of the populace. He recommended government and civil society collaborations, whereby the data collected through cooperation may be made public for mutual trust. He believed that good real-time data on air-pollution would help in better decision making by public and government.

A point raised during the session was academia’s role in generation and management of data on air pollution. While Dr. Filippeli appreciated the idea of academia and government in this regard, he was of the opinion that data collection and management is primarily a task of government agencies.

Mr. Nadeem Akbar, Director of American Institute of Pakistan Studies (AIPS) closed the event with his remarks in which he recalled his institute’s efforts to bring on board experts like Dr. Filippeli, as well as thanked Pakistani organizations, including COMSATS, that hosted his lectures.

The special guests and the subject experts were handed over COMSATS souvenirs.

Upcoming Events

International Workshop on Learning about Sustainability, SDGs and Global Challenges, Gebze, Turkey.
Dec 3 – Dec 5 all-day

[ Flyer ]

1. Background and rationale
Since the adoption of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015, the achievement of their targets has become a high priority. However, full awareness about the SDGs and the associated Global Challenges at the level of young scientists and researchers is often inadequate. Their role in contributing towards fostering scientific knowledge, technology and innovation is crucial for finding solutions to the sustainability issues. A workshop is being organized aimed at early-career researchers to deepen their understanding of the SDGs.

2. Introduction
In order to raise awareness on SDGs and the associated challenges faced by humanity globally, and to build capacity of young scientists and researchers in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and other countries lagging in science and technology, The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), the Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS), and the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK), in collaboration with the TWAS Regional Partner for East and South-East Asia and the Pacific, and COMSATS’ Centre for Climate and Sustainability (CCCS), are organizing an international workshop titled ‘Sustainability, SDGs and Global Challenges’. The workshop will be hosted by TUBITAK, at Gebze, Turkey, on 3 – 5 December 2019.

This activity will be within the pursuits of COMSATS and TWAS. COMSATS Centres of Excellence are reservoirs of scientific research capabilities and expertise in diverse fields. Their contribution in enhancing the capacity of COMSATS’ member countries especially the LDCs and countries on the verge of developing ST for SDGs is a strong manifestation of south-south cooperation and commitment to sustainability. The offer of TUBITAK, the COMSATS’ Centre of Excellence in Turkey, to host the workshop is deeply appreciated.

3. Focus and Possible Topics
If SDGs are to bring about transformative changes in the socio-economic and socio-technical systems, it is imperative to promote active links and dialogue among different actors, disciplines and knowledge holders. This would enable better understanding of the challenges confronted by humanity and possible progress toward their solutions. It is important for all stakeholders to imagine SDGs as a whole, interlinked and interactive process and systems. Hence the overarching aim of the workshop is to provide an overview and training on the concept of sustainable development; the rationale of SDGs; importance of targets set as benchmarks for monitoring the progress of the implementation processes; and on the planetary boundaries. This is expected to provide a useful backdrop to more focused deliberations on three crucial topics: climate, energy and biodiversity. Though these are covered under most of the Goals, the specific ones could be identified as: Goal 3, 6, 7, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15.

4. Structure of Workshop
The structure of the workshop is based on presentations by international experts in the fields identified, which will be followed by interactive sessions. The idea is to engage with the participants and involve them in brainstorming on key issues. The handouts and possible reading material will be provided. The participants will be expected to suggest their views on the solutions specific to their countries/regions.

5. Targeted Individuals
The focus of the workshop is on the LDCs and S&T Lagging countries, especially those that are members of TWAS and COMSATS. Young affiliates & scientists holding PhD (graduated at least 3 years ago), belonging to LDCs/S&T Lagging Countries, and the host country are encouraged to participate in the event.

6. Financial Support
Partial or full financial support will be provided to selected foreign participants belonging to LDCs/S&T Lagging Countries ( The local hospitality will be provided to the foreign participants by TUBITAK, Turkey.

7. Application Procedure
The candidates are required to submit their CVs, duly filled-in application forms (enclosed), expression of interest (up to 500 words), passport copy, and nomination/recommendation letters at the following email addresses:; on or before 18th September 2019.

8. For further information, please contact:

Dr. Max Paoli
Programme Coordinator, TWAS, Trieste, Italy
Tel: +39 040 2240-327
Fax: +39 040 224559

Mr. Farhan Ansari
Sr. Assistant Director (Programmes),
COMSATS Headquarters, Islamabad, Pakistan.
Tel: +92 51 9214515-7
Fax: +92 51 9216539

Dr. Orkun Hasekioglu
Ankara, Turkey

The 23rd Meeting of COMSATS Coordinating Council, ICCBS, Karachi, Pakistan
Mar 2 – Mar 4 all-day