Selina Amoah (seated right), acting Director of EPA, and Desmond Appiah (seated 2nd left), Country Lead for the Clean Air Fund, with other stakeholders at the launch of the Air Quality Awareness Week
Selina Amoah (seated right), acting Director of EPA, and Desmond Appiah (seated 2nd left), Country Lead for the Clean Air Fund, with other stakeholders at the launch of the Air Quality Awareness Week

Urban air quality project underway

The Ghana Urban Air Quality Project (GHAir) in collaboration with Breathe Accra has launched “Air Quality Awareness Week “to increase public awareness on the effects of air pollution and generate air quality data to drive policy decisions.


On the theme “Knowing your air” it is to provide real-time data to enable individuals to take action to improve on air quality in the country and and that of its neighbours. The launch was done in collaboration with the University of Cape Coast and funded by the Clean Air Fund.

The initiative is also to address the effects of air pollution towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals 11 (SDG 11) Sustainable Cities and Communities, which focuses on enhancing a safe and inclusive human settlement.

The week-long activities lined up for the campaign include school engagement on Asthma and air pollution, webinar to discuss air pollution and climate change, roundtable discussion with stakeholders and risk communication in selected markets areas.

GHAir started in May 2019 with the aim of deploying sensors in metropolitan areas of Ghana to bridge the air quality data gaps in those settlements for public health protection. An Associate Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Cape Coast (UCC), Kofi Amegah, said the objective was to accelerate air quality improvements in Accra to protect public health and help inspire greater action on air pollution in other African cities.

He said results from improved air quality monitoring indicated that Madina market, Makola market, Agbogbloshie, Chorkor and Madina Zongo Junction were the five most polluted hotspots in Accra.

Prof. Amegah said there was a need to leverage the low-cost sensor technologies to bridge the huge data gaps in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). “The most promising sensors should be embraced to assure data quality and inspire greater confidence in the decisions reached with the data gathered,” he said.


An acting Director at EPA, Selina Amoah, said at the launch last Thursday that rapid urbanisation and emissions from industrial and human activities were rapidly degrading air quality, particularly in urban areas.

That, she said, had contributed to climate change and its implications for public health and economic development. The EPA acting director stated that air pollution-related health issues in the country was worrying, explaning that “there is about 28,000 deaths per year, and the number was projected to increase if no action was taken to tackle the issues.”

Ms Amoah said air pollution was a major contributor to public health such as cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, birth defects, damage to the human nervous system, cancer and premature death.

The EPA director said EPA was committed to continuing air quality monitoring programmes to inform policies, hence implementing measures to address air pollution. She, therefore, called on all stakeholders to work together to address air quality issues, saying “we seek to complement the agency's efforts to manage their quality as it is our collective responsibility to work together towards a healthier environment for ourselves in the future.”


The Country Lead for the United Kingdom-based nonprofit body, the Clean Air Fund, Desmond Appiah, said access to clean air was a fundamental human right that everyone must enjoy.

He said there was the need to review district monitoring data and maps to identify air quality hotspots. Mr Appiah also emphasised the need for a formalised Memorandum of Understanding between the EPA and the assemblies to ensure effective action was taken.

He said there was also the need to analyse health data from pollution hotspots to understand full health impacts.

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