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The U.S. Embassy Celebrates Earth Day with the Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society, Installs Air Quality Monitors in Addis Ababa

Charge d’Affaires Ambassador Jacobson, representatives from the EWNHS, Addis Ababa University, and the Ethiopian Environmental Protection Agency. (Photo : courtesy of US Embassy)

US Embassy Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa, – The Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society and the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa celebrated Earth Day by initiating the next phase of the NASA MAIA program in Ethiopia.  The event marked the installation of several ground-based air quality monitors and the preparation for integration with satellite-based measurements of air pollution in Addis Ababa.

Chargé d’Affaires Ambassador Jacobson urged cooperation to combat climate change saying, “No country alone can solve the problems facing our planet.  Working together is the only way to advance our environmental priorities and solve the global problems we face.”

When fully operational, NASA’s Multi-Angle Imager for Aerosols (MAIA, pronounced “Maya”) mission will produce daily maps of particulate matter (PM) pollution exposure over at least 10 globally distributed Primary Target Areas (PTAs), including Addis Ababa.  The primary goal of the MAIA investigation is to enable health studies in regions impacted by different levels, types, and sources of PM pollution.  MAIA data products will enable scientists to explore the effects of mixtures of PM pollution on health outcomes, including those associated with prenatal and early childhood exposure to PM pollution.

As part of the MAIA project, air quality monitors have been installed at the U.S. Embassy, an Embassy warehouse, and Addis Ababa University.  These monitors will provide verification of the data collected by the satellite.  In addition, the monitors will provide more detailed information on PM pollution in Addis Ababa than has been available previously, allowing for more precise identification of pollution types and sources.

Poor air quality has a significant direct impact on the health of those living in Addis Ababa.  Particulate matter concentrations in Addis Ababa are two to three times higher than the standards set by both Ethiopia and the World Health Organization (WHO).  It is estimated that as much as five percent (5%) of all deaths in Ethiopia are linked to breathing PM pollution.

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