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Air Quality Monitoring: Rwanda On the Right Track

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Dr Jimmy Gasore, lecturer at University of Rwanda explaining real-time air quality index

Since 2017, the Ministry of Education (MINEDUC) and Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) have been implementing the Air Quality and Climate Change Monitoring Project.

The Project’s objectives were to establish an air quality monitoring network system in the country to continuously monitor and report air quality index around the country and to enhance the existing climate observatory in order to improve the understanding of local emissions related to climate change.

It further intends to build capacity of Rwandan scientists and partner institutions’ staffs to answer air quality and climate related issues in Rwanda, as well as to regularly produce reports and scientific publications  and policy guidance related to air quality and greenhouse gases to support national sustainable development.

Air Quality and Climate Change Monitoring Project established an Air Quality Monitoring system that provides data on the quality of the air in twenty-three sites across the country.

The system provides real-time Air Quality Index for each station in both numerical and color code format and highlits the dominant air pollutant which is responsible for air quality degradation during the reported period for each station.

The data are accessible on “Rwanda AQI” App for Android users, and is yet to be accessible for iOS users. The system will help Rwanda to compare ground observations data with satellite data through remote sensing technology to verify their accuracy, according to REMA officials.

“We are all responsible for the quality of the air we breathe. Rwanda’s new air quality monitoring system gives us the information we need to address air pollution and to provide information to citizens about the status of the air where they live and work,” said said Juliet Kabera, Director General, Rwanda Environment Management Authority.

“This new tool will help us to measure and boost the impact of interventions we have introduced to reduce air pollution and ensure blue skies for all.”

The system also strengthens Rwanda’s existing field installed air quality monitoring network by providing online access to pollution readings from each station as well as data management including data sharing mechanisms.

While visiting the infrastructures installed to run the Air Quality Monitoring System early this month, the peramanent secretary of MINEDUC, Mr Samuel Mulindwa said that Rwanda is on good track in terms of Air Quality and Climate Change Monitoring.

“It is obvious that we are on good track in terms of Air Quality and Climate change monitoring. Let us keep this momentum and position ourselves as a center of excellence in Air Quality monitoring in this region. We have infrastructures and everything required to achieve this” said Samuel Mulindwa, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education.

According to the results of a recent study, Rwanda is being affected by all major pollutants. The research shows that vehicle emissions are the leading source of air pollution in Kigali.

Other contributors to poor air quality in Rwanda include the industrial sector, charcoal cookstoves and agricultural waste burning.

Rwanda has a long-term goal to be a carbon neutral nation as articulated in its Vision 2050. In the short term, Rwanda aims to reduce emissions by 38% compared to business as usual by 2030 and electric vehicles are estimated to represent 9% of potential energy-related emissions mitigated under the country’s climate action plan (NDC).

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