The Air Quality Indexing (AQI) System for Mauritius was launched, today, at the National Laboratories Complex in Réduit, at the initiative of Ministry of Environment, Solid Waste Management and Climate Change on the International Day of Clean Air for blue skies, observed each year on 07 September.
The aim of the AQI is to collect and analyse data in view to reduce levels of key air pollutants and improve the quality of air, in line with World Health Organization (WHO) Guidelines. The theme for this year is The Air We Share.
Present at the launching ceremony, the Minister of Environment, Solid Waste Management and Climate Change, Mr Kavydass Ramano, recalled that the AQI system comprises six fixed stations and four IoT sensors deployed around the island linked through a central network system which disseminates hourly and daily indices. The main objectives of the system are to: accurately sense air quality in real time; inform citizens about our air quality index in Mauritius; optimise air quality index; track and combat pollution; as well as create better urban environment by reducing the emission of CO2 and other pollutants. Information collected by the system can easily be accessed by the public and tourists through dedicated web portal, mobile applications and dedicated electronic billboards display, the Minister added.
Breathing clean air is fundamental to a healthy human life and it is important that the air we breathe is free from air pollutants such as the Carbon Monoxide, Oxides of Nitrogen, Sulphur Dioxide and Ozone which are harmful to health, and environment, stated Mr Ramano. According to WHO, he said, 99% of the global population breathes air that exceeds WHO air quality limits, and threatens their health.
He stressed that common air pollution causes are industrial emission, transportation, energy use and production, and they also contribute to climate change. Over 6 000 cities in 117 countries are now monitoring air quality, he pointed out, adding that improving air quality can enhance climate change mitigation efforts, reduce emissions and their impacts on human health and environment.
“The WHO is calling for a rapid intensification of actions from governments around the world and my Ministry is working hard to preserve the quality of air that we breathe in line with the vision of a cleaner, greener and safer Mauritius”, he stated.
Also present, the Acting WHO Representative in Mauritius, Dr Indrajit Hazarika, pointed out that air pollution is a global problem with far-reaching impacts and the number of premature deaths resulting from ambient air pollution is estimated to increase by more than 50 per cent by 2050 in the absence of aggressive intervention.
The Day, he said, highlights the need for immediate and strategic international and regional cooperation for more efficient implementation of mitigation policies and actions to tackle air pollution.