Accra, GHANA, October 14, 2021 – Today, U.S. Ambassador Stephanie S. Sullivan inaugurated an air quality monitoring station on U.S. Embassy grounds in Cantonments, Accra together with Hon. Henry Kwabena Kokofu, Executive Director of EPA Ghana representing Minister for Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation (MESTI); Prof. Sandow Mark Yidana, Dean, School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, University of Ghana; and other senior officials. It is the third of three air monitoring stations in Accra. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Ghana, with the support of the World Bank Pollution Management and Environmental Health project, installed two other state-of-the-art air quality monitoring systems – one at the University of Ghana in Legon and another at the St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Basic School in Adabraka. Today’s event serves to commission all three monitoring stations.
“These monitoring stations help scientists, researchers, government officials, and the public understand the data in real-time, as we work together to identify and mitigate sources of harmful air pollution. Air pollution, just like the climate crisis, threatens our health and our prosperity. We are happy to work today with our partners to share information that can lead to solutions,” said U.S. Ambassador Stephanie S. Sullivan.
The collaboration among the U.S. Embassy in Accra, EPA Ghana, the University of Ghana, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the World Bank Group, and other partners to establish three air quality monitoring stations in Accra will provide state-of-the-art, timely data on air pollution in the Accra Metropolitan Area.
All three monitors measure PM2.5 black carbon (a component of PM2.5) as well as weather data, such as temperature, relative humidity, pressure, wind speed, and wind direction. The particulate matter monitors, black carbon analyzers, and weather stations will provide high quality data on a continuous basis. Data from air quality monitoring station at the U.S. Embassy in Accra is available online at https://www.airnow.gov/international/us-embassies-and-consulates/#Ghana$Accra.
The data from all three monitoring stations will enable government agencies to inform the public about the current level of air quality and steps the public can take to reduce exposure to pollution. This data can also help the Ghana EPA and the Accra Metropolitan Assembly formulate strategies, policies, and decisions to reduce air pollution and improve public health. In addition, the data from the station will be available to scientists, academics, and students for educational and research purposes.
These stations complement the Air Quality Management Plan for the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area launched in 2018.
Remarks by Ambassador Stephanie S. Sullivan
Launching Ceremony forAir Quality Monitors
October 14, 2021
Honorable Henry Kokofu,Ghana EPA Executive Director;
World Bank Group Country Director, Pierre Laporte;
Dean of the University of Ghana’s School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Professor Sandow Mark Yidana;
And other distinguished partners:
Good morning. And what a beautiful morning it is here in Accra!
I’d like to thank you all for joining us today, and for the incredible work that you and your teams do every day – not just to monitor air quality,but also to ensure that we all do our part in providing clean air, clean water, and a greater, greener future for generations to come. The United States and Ghana share a longstanding, strong relationship. We work together on a broad spectrum of issues, including public health, education, entrepreneurship, security, and, perhaps most important for this audience, environmental challenges.
No challenge poses a greater threat to our future and to future generations than a changing climate. That’s why President Biden immediately recommitted the United States to the Paris Agreement. Furthermore, at this year’s UN General Assembly, he announced his intention to increase the level of funding for the international public climate finance fund to 11.4 Billion US Dollars annually by 2024, making the United States a leader in aid to mitigate climate change.
The climate crisis is a global challenge, and we know that we need to work together to protect the environment, improve air quality, and safeguard human health. For example, air pollution and climate change reduce agricultural productivity, an important sector in Ghana, with implications for food and nutritional security, not to mention prices. The increasing global trend of urbanization, as we see in the Greater Accra Region and in many U.S. cities, continues to create greater concentrations in air pollutants, with detrimental health effects.
Indeed, clean air is critical to our health. The UN General Assembly designated September 7 as the International Day of Clean Air for blue skies. This year’s slogan – “Healthy Air, Healthy Planet” – emphasizes the health effects of air pollution, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the goal of reducing air pollution and bringing transformative change to lifestyles. Research has linked significant exposure to air pollutants to an increased risk of hospitalization or even death if exposed to COVID-19.
We know that information is power, which is why I am so pleased to launch these high-quality air quality monitors today alongside our Ghanaian partners to serve the Greater Accra region. These monitoring stations help scientists, researchers, government officials, and the public understand the data in real time, as we work together to identify and mitigate sources of harmful air pollution.
Air pollution, just like the climate crisis, threatens our health and our prosperity. We are pleased to be a partner in this initiative to share information that can help policymakers make data-driven decisions that protect public health in the Greater Accra Region.
Ghana’s national plans recognize the strategic power of acting on pollution and climate together, by focusing not only on carbon reductions but also on short-lived climate pollutants and other air pollutants. The Government of Ghana has pledged to lower greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent by 2030, and to invest in and adopt low-carbon technological solutions. Today’s event supports these national ideals and is a small step in advancing our global commitment to mitigate climate change.
I look forward to continuing to work together to protect public health, improve the local environment, and tackle the climate crisis. Decisions made and implemented now are crucial in shaping our planet for future generations!
Thank you for joining us today.