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AUS professor at the helm of clean air research
With clean air high on the agenda of many national and international agencies, research from American University of Sharjah (AUS) into how air pollution can be minimized is driving knowledge and policy creation in the UAE and across the world.
An AUS professor from the Department of Physics in the university’s College of Arts and Sciences has been at the helm of international efforts to address air pollution. Dr. Nasser Hamdan, an expert in particulate matter, delivered a speech on the topic at a recent forum held to mark the International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies held by the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and the Environment. The International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies is an initiative of the United Nations Environmental Program, designed to raise awareness about air pollution and mobilize global action to address the problem. The UAE government used this year’s forum to officially launch the UAE National Air Quality Agenda 2031.
Dr. Hamdan is also leading air quality research projects at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, examining fine particulate matter–substances containing microscopic solids or liquid droplets that are so small that they can be inhaled and cause serious health problems. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), pollution, including fine particulate matter, is responsible for nine million premature deaths each year and is one of the main avoidable causes of disease and mortality globally. The risks of lung cancers and cancers of the upper digestive tract are significantly increased by sustained exposure to fine particulate matter, as are many other diseases.
For one of his projects, Dr. Hamdan has been running a continuous air quality monitoring campaign on the AUS campus since 2014, sampling fine particulate matter in the air twice weekly following international protocols.
Dr. Hamdan says of his research:
“Research into air pollution is necessary for both health and environmental issues. An enormous amount of high-quality data, collected over a number of years and which is reliable, is needed to establish robust policies that safeguard the health of the public and the environments in which we all live.”
“We are currently working on identifying various pollution sources in Sharjah by grouping different pollutants to their sources. This will be achieved by combining measurement results obtained by using our state-of-the-art equipment with computer modeling, a topic known as ‘source apportionment’. We are also planning to recruit PhD students to work on this project for their PhD research in the material science and engineering program and facilities.”