International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies: How Rwanda is taking bold action to beat air pollution

Rwanda has on September 7, 2023 joined the rest of the world to mark the International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies, which is celebrated annually on September 7. This year’s Clean Air for Blue Skies day is celebrated under the theme Together for Clean Air, with a call for stronger partnerships, increased investment, and a shared responsibility to address air pollution.

According to the World Health Organisation, 99% of humanity breathes polluted air, making it the single greatest environmental health risk we face. 

In Rwanda, a number of initiatives have been put in place to improve the quality of the air we breathe. This includes transitioning to clean cooking, promoting electric vehicles, encouraging people to use non-motorised transport, as well as promoting car-free days.

Rwanda has also developed an air quality Monitoring System that provides real-time data on air quality at 23 sites across the country, and has adopted regulatory frameworks related to air pollution control - including introducing Euro 4 fuel standards.

“Rwanda is playing its part through a range of government-led initiatives, but we cannot overcome air pollution without strong partnerships across borders and with the private sector and civil society organisations. We are all responsible for the quality of the air we breathe. By taking simple actions in our daily lives, we address air pollution,” said Juliet Kabera, Director General, Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA).

Despite the progress made, air pollution remains a change for Rwanda and the world at large, and there is a need for all stakeholders to work together to ensure clean air. 

Working Together For Clean Air

In line with this year’s theme, Rwanda is working with partners to improve the quality of the air we breathe. 

Rwanda has developed a carbon market framework that will unlock financial incentives for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions associated with traditional cooking methods. The Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), of which Rwanda is a member, also works to address climate change and air pollution (short-lived climate pollutants) at the same time

Rwanda has partnered with the Green Climate Fund (GCF), which finances projects that address climate change mitigation and contribute to the reduction of air pollution. The country has also established the Rwanda Green Fund that invests in a range of public and private sector initiatives that are reducing air pollution. 

To mark this year’s International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies, the Rwanda Environment Management Authority has organised a number of outreach activities, including roadside vehicle emissions checks, public awareness campaigns and a national celebration event.

Air Quality Monitoring System

Discover Rwanda’s real-time air quality monitoring system at the links below:

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