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UHM Geography Professor Receives NSF Grant to Study Air Pollution in Thailand


Congratulations to Dr. Mary Mostafanezhad of the Department of Geography, who along with her co-PI has been awarded a $278K grant from the National Science Foundation to study air pollution in Thailand! More about the project below.

fires sending smoke up around farmland

Understanding the Socio-Ecological Drivers and Consequences of Seasonal Air Pollution

National Science Foundation Cultural Anthropology Program Senior Research Award

Award total: $276,897 (2018 – 2021)

Dr. Mary Mostafanezhad

Dr. Mary Mostafanezhad

Mary Mostafanezhad of the Department of Geography at UHM and her co-PI, Olivier Evrard of the French Research Institute for Development in Paris will examine the socio-ecological drivers of air pollution, and the ways that air pollution, or haze, becomes constituted as a crisis in northern Thailand. In recent decades, broad shifts from subsistence farming to commercial agriculture and increased volumes of agricultural biomass burning have reportedly exacerbated the production of air pollution in the form of haze—an airborne mixture of pollutants that includes gasses, fine soot particles and carbon dioxide. While causal uncertainty exists surrounding the precise combination of the socio-ecological drivers of haze production, multiple narratives of the causes and effects of the haze circulate throughout the region, in which blame is frequently placed on smallholder farmers who have recently entered into new market relations. Situated within broader regional agrarian transitions, this study employs mixed ethnographic, quantitative, and geospatial methods to understand the socio-ecological drivers and consequences of seasonal air pollution and by what mechanisms such pollution comes to be constituted as a “crisis”.

Mostafanezhad team examines tech in the field Mostafanezhad team examines tech in the field