Organized by the Environmental Health division of the Vital Strategies, a special training program for Journalists from South and South East Asian countries on Air Pollution and effective use of data in reporting was held in Bangkok, Thailand from 23nd July to 26th.
Seventeen journalists from India, Thailand, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Philippines and Mongolia participated the training. During this special training program journalists learned the scientific basics of air pollution, air quality monitoring methods and tools, minimizing effects of air pollution, various online data sources with Air Pollution data and Air Pollution related health data, and various tricks and methods they can use in their reporting.
Inaugurating the event, Daniel Kass, senior vice president, Environmental health division of the Vital Strategies emphasized that the main objective of this training program is to push journalists to write more about air pollution in a more data driven manner so that their reports can make a higher impact to the society and the environment. He also described how this kind of effective reporting can influence decision makers of a country to rethink about their future strategies and policies.
Dr. Mazrura Zahani from National University of Malayasia, and Dr. Supat Wangwongwatana a former head of the Pollution Control Department in Thailand participated as special resource persons for the training program. Dr. Mazrura in her lecture talked about how the air pollution can effect the respiratory system of a human and various diseases that can occur as a result of the air pollution. Dr. Supat with all his experience in Air Pollution control in Thailand described how the Thailand Government has taken various steps to reduce the Air pollution within the country.
On 26th, the final day of the training program the journalists had the chance to visit the Pollution Control Department of Thailand and were able to see how the air quality monitoring system functions within Thailand.
Vital Strategies is a global public health organization that seeks to accelerate progress on the world’s most pressing health problems.
The organization envisions a world where every person is protected by a strong public health system. Their team combines evidence-based strategies with innovation to help develop sound public health policies, manage programs efficiently, strengthen data systems, conduct research, and design strategic communication campaigns for policy and behavior change. Vital Strategies was formed when The Union North America and World Lung Foundation joined forces. It is an affiliate of The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union).
Sisira Kumara, an editor from the Sri Lankan Scientist Magazine and Husna Inayathullah from Sunday Observer participated the training representing Sri Lanka.