Home » Ghana and Clean Air Fund Join Forces to Tackle Deadly Air Pollution

Ghana and Clean Air Fund Join Forces to Tackle Deadly Air Pollution

A new partnership aims to reduce air pollution and its impacts on health and climate in Ghana.

by Motoni Olodun

Air pollution is a silent killer that claims over 28,000 lives in Ghana every year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). It is also a major contributor to climate change, as short-lived climate pollutants such as methane, black carbon, and tropospheric ozone trap heat and warm the planet.

To address this urgent challenge, Ghana and the Clean Air Fund, a philanthropic foundation that supports initiatives to reduce air pollution globally, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the COP 28 climate summit in Dubai. The agreement will pave the way for collaboration on improving air quality management in Ghana, especially in the capital city of Accra, where levels of particulate matter (PM2.5) often exceed WHO guidelines by more than five times.

The MoU will enable the Clean Air Fund to support Ghana in conducting a scoping study on the existing laws, regulations, and systems for air quality monitoring and enforcement. The study will also identify best practices and policy options that can enhance air quality and health outcomes, as well as align with Ghana’s climate commitments under the Paris Agreement.

Clean Air Fund’s founder and CEO, Jane Burston, said the scoping study will also highlight the co-benefits of tackling air pollution and climate change together, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving energy efficiency, and creating green jobs. She added that Clean Air Fund will provide some assistance to Ghana in its leadership role on the issue of “clean air for all”, including hosting the WHO Air Quality Conference in 2024.

Ghana’s Minister of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation, Dr. Kwaku Afriyie, said the partnership with the Clean Air Fund will help Ghana achieve its vision of a healthy and sustainable environment for its people. He said the health sector and other key stakeholders will be involved in the process of developing and implementing effective air quality policies and regulations.

Dr. Peter Dery, the Director of Environment at the Ministry, said clean air is an essential element for human life and environmental sustainability. He noted that addressing air pollution and climate change together will yield multiple benefits and contribute to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals. “We will stay committed to working with partners like Clean Air Fund and stakeholders for improved air quality,” he said.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), an agency under the Ministry, is responsible for safeguarding the environment and regulating air quality in Ghana. However, the agency faces challenges such as limited capacity, insufficient funding, and lack of public awareness and compliance. The MoU with the Clean Air Fund will help address some of these gaps and strengthen the EPA’s capabilities and performance.

Ghana is not alone in facing the menace of air pollution. According to the WHO, more than 90% of the world’s population breathes polluted air, causing an estimated 7 million premature deaths every year. Air pollution also costs the global economy trillions of dollars in health care and lost productivity.

The MoU between Ghana and the Clean Air Fund is a positive step towards reversing this trend and ensuring clean air for all. By working together, the two partners hope to create a model of cooperation and innovation that can inspire other countries and regions to take action for a cleaner and healthier future.

Source: Ghana Business News

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