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West African countries collaborate to improve air quality

Training program by University of Ghana and Columbia University aims to address environmental concerns.

A five-day training program, jointly organized by the University of Ghana (UG) and Columbia University, is underway in Accra, focusing on improving air quality in the West African sub-region. This initiative, supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, brings together participants from Liberia, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, Ghana, and Nigeria. The attendees include policymakers of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), academics, and stakeholders.

The training program, part of the first phase, aims to share experiences, policies, knowledge, ideas, and innovations related to air quality management. Notably, the collaboration has led to the development of Ghana’s first Air Quality Management Plan, emphasizing a comprehensive approach to enhance public health and address environmental degradation.

Addressing the gathering, the Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy in Ghana, Rolf Oslon, stressed the importance of building capacity and finding innovative solutions to combat the challenges posed by air pollution. He highlighted the necessity for training, capacity building, and innovative approaches to address air quality concerns in the region. The program receives funding from the United States Environmental Protection Agency, supporting research aimed at reducing household air pollution.

Dr. Henry Kwabena Kokofu, Executive Director of Ghana’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), emphasized the urgent need for international collaboration to combat air pollution in alignment with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs focus on promoting well-being, creating sustainable cities, and taking urgent action to address climate change.

Dr. Kokofu highlighted efforts in Ghana to regulate air emissions from industries, equip actors in electronic waste management with knowledge and environmentally friendly practices, and address the alarming rise in air pollution. The training program aims to empower decision-makers to gather, monitor, and analyze air quality data for effective policy formulation.

The second phase of the program is expected to take place in Burkina Faso, focusing on experts from Francophone countries in the West African sub-region.

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