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Satellite monitoring helps improve UAE air quality

Ministry of Climate Change and Environment inks contract with Masdar to enter second phase of clean air project

Gulf News

Dubai: A new national effort to monitor via satellite fine particles suspended in the air is entering its second phase to improve air quality, said the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment.

Dr Thani Ahmad Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, was on hand on Thursday to witness the inking of a new contract with Masdar Institute of Science and Technology to move the air quality work forward.

The three-year contract was signed at the Sharjah Centre for Astronomy & Space Sciences following the completion of the first phase in which Masdar Institute established the air quality monitoring system in the UAE.

Phase 2 of the air quality monitoring by satellite project involves the use of ground-level and satellite data to measure PM2.5 levels in the air and the use of the air quality network to calculate the air quality index and facilitate air quality control programmes and initiatives, the ministry said.

It will also use satellite imagery, numerical models, and ground observations to understand the variability of air quality across the UAE and identify sources and nature of trans-boundary pollutants.

Al Zeyoudi said in a statement on Thursday that the monitoring programme aims to greatly boost air quality by identifying sources of particulate matter.

“Air quality is one of the priorities in the UAE because of its health, economic and environmental impacts, where the National Agenda aims at raising the rate of air quality in the UAE from around 70 per cent at present to 90 per cent by 2021,” he said.

“We have to deal with the growing challenges that we face in our quest to achieve our national aspirations, which include improving air quality. We are relying heavily on employing the latest available technologies and developing innovative solutions that contribute to strengthening our capabilities in this area.”

Dr Behjat Al Yousuf, interim provost, Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, said: “Through this agreement, we are proud to collaborate with the ministry to contribute towards developing a prompt and accurate method of monitoring air quality throughout the UAE, which will help us recognise the environmental goals in the country’s 2021 vision.”