Asian Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network (AECEN) launched its first Pollution Control Webinar Series on 26 February 2018. The keynote presentation was given by Dr. Supat Wangwongwatana, a member of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition’s Scientific Advisory Panel and Former Director General of the Pollution Control Department in Thailand. This highly relevant introductory webinar is titled “Overview on Status, Sources and Impacts of Air Pollution in Asia Pacific” and will explore one of the biggest threats to the planet and its people. Globally, of the estimated 12 million people who die prematurely each year from unhealthy environments, 7 million people die due to air pollution alone. More than 2/3 of those deaths occur in the Western Pacific and South East Asian regions.
Asia-Pacific is home to more than half the world’s population and has some of the fastest-growing economies in the world. Unfortunately, pollution disproportionately affects poorer countries because of the combination of rapid industrialization and weak environmental agencies. The World Health Organization (WHO) found that Asia has 25 of the world’s 30 most polluted cities in terms of fine particles in the air that pose the greatest risks to human health. This particulate matter is so dangerous that the WHO classified it and outdoor air pollution as carcinogenic to humans in 2013. Therefore, it would not be an understatement to say that air pollution is now the world’s largest single environmental health risk. In his webinar, Dr. Supat Wangwongwatana explored why Asia-Pacific is a key battleground in the fight against pollution based on the current air pollution situation in the region. He concluded with an investigation of some of the policies and regulations which need to be implemented to curb the perilous rise in air pollution throughout the region.
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Dr. Supat Wangwongwatana is a member of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition’s Scientific Advisory Panel and Former Director General of the Pollution Control Department in Thailand.
He has been instrumental and responsible for the improvement of air quality in Thailand in particular in Bangkok. He was also awarded an Asian Air Quality Management Champion from the Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities (CAI-Asia, presently Clean Air Asia) for his efforts to institutionalize air quality management in Thailand and for acting as a role model for air quality management practitioners in cities and countries across Asia. He also received the 2016 Kong Ha Award for Excellence in Air Quality Management from Clean Air Asia (CAA) as a scientist and practitioner who has worked tirelessly for the past 39 years to improve air quality in Thailand and throughout Asia.
He has been actively involved in various international initiatives, networks and programs and Conventions. He served as the Chairperson of CAI-Asia and the Chairperson of the Asian Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network (AECEN). He represented in Thailand in the negotiation and COP of various Multilateral Environmental Agreement, including Stockholm Convention, Rotterdam Convention, Basel Convention, SAICM, UNFCCC, ASEAN Haze Agreement, the Acid Deposition Monitoring Network in East Asia (EANET) and Regional Forum on Environment and Health in East and Southeast Asian Countries. Presently, he serves as the Co-Chairperson of the Asian Co-benefit Partnership (ACP).
Dr. Wangwongwatana received his Bachelor Degree of Science in Public Health (Occupational Health) from Mahidol University with First Class Honor (Gold Medal) in 1977, Master Degree on Environmental Science and Management from Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) in 1980, Ph.D. in Air Pollution Engineering from the University of Cincinnati in 1988. In 2006, he completed the National Defense College, Class of 2005 of the Ministry of Defense of Thailand. He received the Best Alumni Awards from Faculty of Science and Faculty of Public Health of Mahidol University and AIT Thai Alumni Association.