Addis Ababa City Government Begins Monitoring Air Pollution

By Staff Reporter

Air-Pollution-Addis-AbabaOctober 4, 2019 ( -- The Addis Ababa City Government has launched installation of air pollution gauge devices to counter contamination in the capital city Addis Ababa.

The city government’s move to monitor level of pollution in the capital comes after respiratory diseases caused by air pollution continue to become major health challenges among the residents of the metropolis.

Recent study by the health bureau of the city administration indicated that chronic respiratory illness including chronic cough, phlegm, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest pain account for more than 40 percent of cases of illness in hospitals and health centers in Addis Ababa.

The ever-growing air pollution, mainly greenhouse gas emission from vehicles and factories, has also subjected residents to cardiac diseases, the city administration said in a meeting. More than 60 percent of the total vehicles in the country are used only in Addis Ababa

The Environment Protection and Green Development Commission of Addis Ababa City Administration in partnership with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and United Nations Environmental Protection (UNEP) launched the installation of air pollution gauge devices as part of implementation of the Air quality management project.

The air pollution gauge devices to be fixed in selected areas will measure the level of pollution and report to the concerned office online. One is already installed on the commission’s premises.

The commission is set to install the devices in Mexico, Merkato, Repi otherwise called Qoshie, and Arat Kilo areas.

The devices will record different kinds of pollution, namely O3,NOx, PM2.5, PM10, Temp and report to the concerned offices every 10 minutes.

Poor solid waste management remains serious challenge for the city administration mainly due to the magnitude of rapid urbanization and increasing population growth which, in turn, have greatly accelerated the municipal solid waste generation rate in the urban environment.

Air pollution in Addis Ababa also is characterized by the double burden of widespread use of solid biomass and unclean liquid fuels. Using such fuels excessively affects the health of women and children.

Pollution due to emissions from motor traffic and the emerging trend towards industrialization also have their own major share in polluting the environment in Addis Ababa.

Update: Here is additional information supplied to Ezega by the U.S. EPA, which is part of this overall program

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has contracted a consulting group Industrial Economics to help the Addis Ababa Environmental Protection and Green Development Commission (EPGDC) write the first Air Quality Management Plan for the city.  The plan is drafted and is circulating for revisions and feedback. The U.S. EPA says it hopes to make the plan public within six months.

The UNEP air sensor expansion program mentioned above will likely move ahead in November if the sensors clear customs in a timely manner.  They added one sensor to the EPGDC on September 24th and more are coming.  These sensors will expand the existing network of air quality monitoring that already includes reference-grade air quality monitors at the U.S. Embassy and at the International Community School (currently this monitor is down for technical reasons) run by the U.S. Government.  The data is available near real-time and it can be found here.  There is another high quality monitor at the Black Lion hospital run by the GeoHealth Hub of Addis Ababa University. This monitor data will be public once the academic studies of their work is published, which is expected within a year.

In the end, says the U.S. EPA, the goal is to show the city how relatively small investments in policy change and environmental enforcement can save the government large amounts of money in health care costs and prevent many premature deaths by getting a handle on air pollution before it reaches the deadly levels seen in many megacities in developing countries that are going through similar rapid growth to Addis Ababa.

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