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Air quality management

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Investigators: Erik Velasco

Description: A robust and transparent air quality management supported by scientific information is fundamental to achieve clean air.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​CENSAM stopped activities on Dec. 2017. For updates and information contact to Erik Velasco (

Air quality has become one of the most important environmental and health concerns in the modern life. Links between air pollution and health effects are observable even where pollutant levels are seemingly low. It is known that poor air quality can cause short- and long-term impacts on public health, resulting in increased health costs, loss in manpower hours, and ultimately reduction in quality of life.

Unlike many industrialized metropolitan areas, Singapore is far from being a hazy and highly polluted city. However, similar to many other cities, fine particles, particles smaller than 2.5 µm in size, exceed the international standards and guidelines of the World Health Organization. A science-based and transparent air quality management under a multipollutant framework can assist Singapore's efforts to reduce its levels of airborne particles, and in general of any atmopsheric pollutant.

The atmosphere over tropical cities is not well researched and represents an opportunity for Singapore to expand its agenda in environmental research and development. In this context, our research has the aim of providing a scientific base for devising new regulations to improve the air quality and climate change mitigation of Singapore and other tropical cities. A comprehensive characterization of emission sources, transport, and fate of pollutants and greenhouse gases will build a strong knowledge base applicable to other fast-growing cities in Southeast Asia and tropical places in general.

The following chart presents the topics on air quality managemet and climate change mitigation covered by our team.

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Our findings and data are publicly available. Results go over a peer-review process before publication. Grad and undergrad students are always encouraged to particpate in our projects as part of the educational and outreach activities.

We also work closely with journalists, who are the perfect vehicle for communicating our findings with the society. The public's perception of scientists' expertise and trustworthiness are very important.

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Lead researcher
Erik Velasco (SMART, Singapore;
Armando Retama (SIMAT, Mexico)
Soheil Rastan (Former Senior Visiting Fellow, Energy Studies Institute, NUS, Singapore)



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Media (selected)

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SMART Research Scientist Erik Velasco explains the impact of the boundary layer evolution on PM2.5 concentrations on Channel News Asia

​​​​​During hazy periods triggered by wildfires in neighboring islands rain provides a respite, but be cautious, toxic gases are not washed out, they stay in the air​
Body and Soul Haze Special – Environmental & long term health impact 938 LIVE, 17 Sep 15.​​

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D​r Erik Velasco explains the climate change impacts along the Gulf of Mexico. He highlights the important role of mangroves to provide protection against cyclones on Hechos AM – TV Azteca Veracruz, 30 May 15. ​​​ ​​
Should you be more worried about the 3-hour PSI, 24-hour PSI, or PM2.5?​

SMART CENSAM Dr Erik Velasco explains difference between PM10 and PM2.5 to Chinese Current Affairs programme called Frontline on Channel 8, 21 Jun 13.​​

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Publications Upload

Atmospheric research in a tropical city

TALK, Erik Velasco, July-2015.

Measurements of Volatile Organic Compounds: A brief overview of the MCMA-2003 & MILAGRO field campaigns.

TALK, Erik Velasco, Expert Meeting on Air Quality and the Impacts on the Crown Region of Central Mexico, 2014.

Safety Issues with Air Pollution and Smoke-Haze

TALK, Erik Velasco, Science Safety Day, NUS, 2013.

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