U.S. Govt. committed to ensuring clean air, water for all—Official


By Busayo Onijala

Michael Regan, Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), says the U.S. Government is committed to ensuring all people have clean air, water, and an opportunity to lead a healthy life.

Regan communicated this on Monday during a virtual news briefing organised by the U.S. Department of State’s Africa Regional Media Hub.

The briefing was on Regan’s mission to Ghana and Mozambique, and commitments that EPA was making to share solutions on a range of environmental priorities in Africa, including initiatives to protect clean air.

Regan said since the start of his time as EPA’s administrator, he had been focused on tackling pollution challenges that transcended geographical boundaries and disproportionately impacted under-served communities.

This, he said ranged from climate change, to air and water quality concerns, to the recycling of plastics and many others.

“On my first day in Mozambique, I was proud to announce a new air quality monitor at the U.S. Embassy in Maputo.

“Maputo has now joined nearly 80 U.S. embassies and consulates across the world to monitor air quality and display it on EPA air now website, empowering communities to make informed decisions about their health and safety.

“EPA will also work with the Mozambican government officials to provide technical assistance surrounding the use of its air modeling software, which uses state of the art technology for air quality monitoring.’’

Speaking on carbon credits in Africa, he said EPA supported a well monitored high integrity Carbon Credit Programme that met the strong safeguards that allowed for the integrity to remain, to help developing countries speed up their transition away from fossil fuels.

“Responsible high integrity carbon markets represent what we believe to be a potentially strong, promising channel to unlock significant capital, help support decarbonisation and help limit the global average temperature increase to 1.5 degrees and leverage private sector action.”

Regan commended Ghana for having pioneered the generation of high integrity credits, adding that recently in Dubai, Ghana was one of the first two countries to sign an emissions reduction purchase agreement.

He further said air quality monitoring and the transparency of data were very critical so that each community could understand what the impacts were, helping to determine the source of air quality pollution.

“We believe that our governments together can design programmes to tackle those sources of emissions whether they are coming from heavy duty vehicles, or from specific facilities that are stationary.

“Being able to measure those air emissions is important; determining where they are coming from is also important because that gives us the opportunity to work towards mitigating those emissions by tackling the unique sources, with programmes specifically designed for them.

“The high integrity monitors connected to an international monitoring system fed by EPA resources is really an excellent way for multiple countries to exchange their data, identify, highlight the problems, and then begin to share what we all are doing to combat air quality issues at our local levels.’’

Regan said in Ghana, he was delighted to see how clean cooking stoves would transform communities, not just in Ghana, but across the continent.

He added that women and young women were cooking for hours at a time inhaling toxic fumes from charcoal and wood.

“The clean cooking transition is something that we know can contribute to greater air quality benefits, healthier lifestyles for many families.

“Those are the types of solutions that we’re trying to couple together so that we are protecting the planet, and protecting public health at the same time for everyone, no matter where you live, or how much money you have.

“Not only is Africa the birthplace of mankind, but it’s a beautiful, rich land with culture, diversity and extraordinary natural wonders. Everyone deserves clean air, clean water and the right to live a healthy life,” Regan said. (NAN)