Africa and Sub-Saharan African Environmental IssuesEnvironmental IssuesGhana Environmental Issues and NewsGlobal Warming and Climate Change

Accra Mayor signs Landmark Air Quality Declaration to improve climate and health

Mayor Elizabeth Sackey recognizes that breathing clean air is a human right and pledges to strive toward better air quality by signing the C40 Clean Air Cities Declaration.

Mayor Elizabeth Sackey joins the mayors and governors of nine other African cities in making an unprecedented and ambitious commitment to improve air quality.

The mayors and governors making these new commitments represent Abidjan, Accra, Addis Ababa, Dakar, Ekurhuleni, Freetown, Johannesburg, Lagos, Nairobi, and Tshwane. They will be joining a global cohort of 38 cities including Durban, which became the first African city to sign the declaration in 2019.

The C40 Clean Air Cities Declaration sets a framework for cities around the world to improve air quality. Within two years, signatories to the declaration will establish baseline levels and set ambitious reduction targets for air pollutants that meet or exceed national commitments. These targets will put the cities on a path towards meeting World Health Organisation Air Quality Guidelines for particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, and sulphur dioxide.

By signing this declaration, Accra will continue to take bold climate action despite the many challenges faced in recent times, with the global pandemic, economic disruption, climate-related natural disasters and in many cases strained financial resources.

C40’s new African Cities for Clean Air Programme will help Accra to achieve these commitments through capacity building, regionally-focused peer-to-peer knowledge sharing, and collaboration centred on air quality best practices.

Speaking at the event Accra Mayor,  Elizabeth Sackey said: ”We have committed to achieve clean air status and work towards meeting WHO guidelines and air quality standards. This commitment substantiates the principles within Accra’s CAP and the potential co-benefits related to air quality management, as well as the reduction of health impact on citizens.”

Under the Clean Air Cities Declaration, Accra will promote the development of a policy to reduce air pollution from the waste sector by 2026, and implement waste segregation policies to leverage the recycling and re-use of organic waste co-benefits. In the same way, the city will integrate sustainable waste treatment practices with urban production systems aiming to reduce the final disposal of the volume of waste. The city will also collaborate with the transport department to implement an e-mobility strategic policy focusing on high impact actions to reduce transport emissions.

Air pollution has become the second largest cause of death on the African continent, due in part to rapid urbanisation and industrialization. Approximately 1.1 million deaths per year have been linked to air pollution across Africa, according to a Global Burden of Disease study.

Approximately 59 million people across the ten African cities stand to benefit from cleaner air and improved health through commitments that are estimated to prevent as many as 10,000 early deaths linked to air pollution exposure, as well as more than 300,000 hospitalisations, resulting in US$ 9.4 billion in annual savings from averted deaths and hospitalizations.

If Accra meets its first target (reducing the city’s PM2.5 concentration to the Ghana national standard) by 2025, the city will prevent 1,700 deaths and 52,000 hospitalisations per year. This will save US$ 1.3 billion annually.

If Accra meets its second PM2.5 reduction target (to reduce its current PM2.5 concentration by 10% each year) by 2035, it will prevent 2,600 deaths and 74,000 hospitalisations per year. This will save US$ 2.4 billion annually (from avoided deaths and hospitalisations).

If Accra were to reduce its NO2 concentration to 5 ppb by 2030, it would prevent 840 asthma incidences per year and save US$ 100 million annually in related healthcare costs.

Swift, unprecedented and collaborative action is needed to address the sources of pollution that are harming our health and heating our planet.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button