Building healthy cities: Mozambique’s pioneering Air Quality Network

Published: 19 Apr 2024
General Mitigation
Building healthy cities: Mozambique’s pioneering Air Quality Network

Barcelona and Maputo came together between April 15 and 20 in Barcelona for a week of training and exchange of experiences aimed at strengthening and expanding Mozambique's first air quality control network, established thanks to the CoM SSA project and co-financed by the European Union and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID).

In December 2023, the Deputy Minister of Transport and Communications, Amilton Alissone, inaugurated Mozambique's first air quality control network. The Agência Metropolitana de Transportes (AMT), through the CoM SSA project, put into operation 11 air measurement stations, 10 fixed and one mobile. These stations, located in the Maputo metropolitan area, began to have positive impacts from the moment they were put into operation, so much so that the Vice President announced the expansion of this network to the provinces of Sofala, Tete, and Nampula, with a total of 50 more stations that will increase the volume of essential data for scientific research and decision-making in climate, environmental, or public health matters, among others. Continuous monitoring is done on gases and suspended particles that have a direct impact on public health, climate, and the environment, such as nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone, or sulphur dioxide. Additionally, the equipment has the capacity to measure acoustic pollution, solar incidence, or humidity, among other parameters.
From the inauguration to the present, the installation of this network is already bearing fruit. Mozambique, through the AMT, managed to become part of the African Air Quality Society, and thanks to this association, they were able to participate in a workshop on low-cost air sensors held in Senegal. Moreover, the country had data to participate in a survey on air pollutants in African cities. Particularly important are the partnerships with certain embassies and international cooperation agencies for monitoring air quality for environmental purposes. It is worth mentioning the significant partnership with the Manhiça Health Research Center, a source of African health research. At the same time, the AMT is receiving great academic interest to have the country's first air quality data and to start building scientific research that will impact decision-making, as the interpretation and management of such data will help modify the country's environmental law.
However, data collection is not the end of this journey, as training technicians in interpreting it is of essential relevance for decision-making. In this regard, the Barcelona City Council, through the Directorate of Global Justice and International Cooperation and the Barcelona Public Health Agency, is supporting the AMT in all phases of the installation and data collection of this network.
During the exchange week between the AMT and the Barcelona City Council, AMT technicians and the focal points of the CoMSSA project received specialised training in equipment calibration and participated in a calibration process in Barcelona. Additionally, the meeting included a visit to the Barcelona Public Health Agency laboratory to learn firsthand about the data extraction and processing process. Also, the module on urban ecology was especially important which showcased data analysis and processing for the design of public policies and the impact of pollution on urban health and environmental effects.
Thus, a few months before the end of the project, we see that the efforts of the CoM SSA project are beginning to yield very promising results in Mozambique, and we can see that the project's structure, divided into three pillars:
  1. creation and development of a Sustainable Energy Access and Climate Action Plan (SEACAP),
  2. technical assistance and local support in the implementation of climate projects, and
  3. exchange of experiences between cities. 
These have been essential to creating the country's first air quality measurement network and the first generation of essential data for designing a future more respectful of the environment, the climate and, in general, of human beings.

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