The Clean Air Initiative in Sub-Saharan Africa was launched in 1998 as a response to an increase in air quality problems in the region. Urban air pollution tends to increase with the rate of urbanization.
This type of pollution is largely due to vehicle emissions. By providing access to business and public facilities, urban transport plays a critical role in the development of urban areas and overall economic growth but it also generates a number of externalities in terms of accidents, noise, traffic congestion, and air pollution. The latter is becoming a major environmental and health concern in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The five specific objectives of the Clean Air Initiative are to:
- Raise awareness of the dangers of urban air pollution, and its relation to vehicle and fuel choices, on the part of stakeholders involved in the urban transport sector, including those segments of the population at highest risk (children and their mothers, street vendors, and pedestrian commuters);
- Measure baseline vehicle emissions, air quality, pollution exposure, and pollution effects;
- Identify the most cost-effective measures targeting changes in vehicles, fuels, and traffic management;
- Design, implement, and monitor the impacts of Air Quality Action Plans to reduce pollution, including clear, measurable, and enforceable goals for reducing pollutants; and
- Strengthen local expertise on air pollution and vehicle and fuel performance.