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Global Go To Think Tank Index (GGTTI) 2020 launched                    111,75 Think Tanks across the world ranked in different categories.                SDPI is ranked 90th among “Top Think Tanks Worldwide (non-US)”.           SDPI stands 11th among Top Think Tanks in South & South East Asia & the Pacific (excluding India).            SDPI notches 33rd position in “Best New Idea or Paradigm Developed by A Think Tank” category.                SDPI remains 42nd in “Best Quality Assurance and Integrity Policies and Procedure” category.              SDPI stands 49th in “Think Tank to Watch in 2020”.            SDPI gets 52nd position among “Best Independent Think Tanks”.                           SDPI becomes 63rd in “Best Advocacy Campaign” category.                   SDPI secures 60th position in “Best Institutional Collaboration Involving Two or More Think Tanks” category.                       SDPI obtains 64th position in “Best Use of Media (Print & Electronic)” category.               SDPI gains 66th position in “Top Environment Policy Tink Tanks” category.                SDPI achieves 76th position in “Think Tanks With Best External Relations/Public Engagement Program” category.                    SDPI notches 99th position in “Top Social Policy Think Tanks”.            SDPI wins 140th position among “Top Domestic Economic Policy Think Tanks”.               SDPI is placed among special non-ranked category of Think Tanks – “Best Policy and Institutional Response to COVID-19”.                                            Owing to COVID-19 outbreak, SDPI staff is working from home from 9am to 5pm five days a week. All our staff members are available on phone, email and/or any other digital/electronic modes of communication during our usual official hours. You can also find all our work related to COVID-19 in orange entries in our publications section below.    The Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) is pleased to announce its Twenty-third Sustainable Development Conference (SDC) from 14 – 17 December 2020 in Islamabad, Pakistan. The overarching theme of this year’s Conference is Sustainable Development in the Times of COVID-19. Read more…       FOOD SECIRITY DASHBOARD: On 4th Nov, SDPI has shared the first prototype of Food Security Dashboard with Dr Moeed Yousaf, the Special Assistant to Prime Minister on  National Security and Economic Outreach in the presence of stakeholders, including Ministry of National Food Security and Research. Provincial and district authorities attended the event in person or through zoom. The dashboard will help the government monitor and regulate the supply chain of essential food commodities.

Short of breath
By: Maryam Shabbir
Imagine the cause of most deaths in South Asia — war, terrorism, road accidents, malaria, or any other? While we do lose many precious lives in South Asia due to the above-mentioned reasons, the worst killer — air pollution — goes unnoticed. The issue is ignored by those who suffer from it as well as by our policy makers and planners.
According to the recently published State of Global Air report (published by the US-based Health Effects Institute and the University of British Columbia), In South Asia life expectancy of a child born today will be shortened by 20 months due to air pollution. Deaths caused due to air pollution are exceeding the number caused from accidents, malaria, or malnutrition. India, Bangladesh, China, and Pakistan are the worst South Asian countries for living due to bad air pollution. The worst five countries with high level of air pollution are in South and East Asia. People are exposed to alarmingly high levels of air pollution both indoor as well as outdoor in these countries.
During the year 2017, South Asian countries had highest annual average exposures to particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5 or small particle less than 2.5 micron diameter). Just to give you an idea, the diameter (width) of average human hair is 70 micron. This means almost 30 PM2.5 can be placed on the tip of human hair. Due to their small size, they get suspended in the air and it is so easy to inhale them.
Among the five worst countries affected by air pollution, Nepal has highest particulate matter levels of 100 microgram per cubic meters followed by India 91 micrograms per cubic meters, Bangladesh 61 microgram per cubic meters and Pakistan 58 microgram per cubic meters. From East Asia, China stands at 53 microgram per cubic meter for particulate matter 2.5.
Air pollution in South Asian countries contribute to heart strokes, lung cancers, diabetes and pulmonary diseases. Young children are more vulnerable because they breathe more air than adults. As per United Nations, 93 percent of children under the age of 15 years inhale dangerously high levels of particulate matter on daily basis. According to World Health Organization, annually 600,000 children of same age bracket die because of exposure to both indoor and outdoor air pollution. Sources of air pollution include vehicular emissions, industrial emissions (small and big), indoor air pollutants, and small industrial units.
Air pollution is not only affecting our health but also our economy as it affects seasonal crops production patterns. If issue of air pollution is tackled with proper planning then it can add to 2 percent of GDP.
Air pollution in South Asian countries contribute to heart strokes, lung cancers and pulmonary diseases. As per UN, 93 percent of children under the age of 15 years inhale dangerously high levels of particulate matter on daily basis.
A national action plan on air pollution is needed at national level that should include phasing out of 2-stroke and diesel public service vehicles. Air monitoring stations should monitor air quality regularly and there is need of more stations for accurate data availability. Vehicle inspections system should be enforced and alternate fuels options should be promoted.
Pollution control technology should be introduced at industrial level and environmental protection agencies should make sure that industries are compliant with national environmental quality standards.
At regional level existing platforms like South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) should be used to come with a regional air pollution control strategy. They say air knows no boundaries and same is the case of air pollution. Like minded parliamentarians and climate change/environment ministers should sit together and set targets to lower air emissions. Together they should approach developed countries for the payment of loss and damage they have caused to us.
While governments, at national and regional levels, will think of strategies to reduce air pollution, we the people of South Asia cannot absolve ourselves from the responsibility to leave clean air for our future generations. Media and advocacy groups need to run awareness campaigns to educate masses about the long-term impacts of air pollution. Each one of us would have to minimise our air pollution footprint through bringing a change in our daily lives.

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The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint or stance of SDPI.