Abu Dhabi announces plan to improve air quality

Abu Dhabi laid out plans to slash harmful emissions from traffic in the UAE capital as it strives for cleaner air quality, as U.N. climate talks continued into its second week in Dubai.

An air quality expert at the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD), Meera Harara, said that transportation in Abu Dhabi is responsible for approximately 34 percent of nitrogen oxide emissions and around 17 percent of particulate matter, with taxis and buses being significant contributors.

These announcements came during the ‘Cleaner Air in Abu Dhabi’ panel discussion held at the UAE Pavilion at COP28.

“We decided to look into technologies that could help us deepen our understanding of what’s really happening out there,” said Harara.

“We’ve worked on several projects in the agency when it comes to monitoring; as an environmental body, we always try to find the most appropriate solutions and to understand environmental quality,” she further added.

A report by the EAD said that updating the public transport vehicles in the UAE capital could lead to a reduction of up to 90 percent in harmful emissions in the city.

EAD is developing a new plan to improve air quality that aims to pinpoint areas with high smog levels and reduce harmful exposure to pollutants.

This plan will produce detailed air quality maps for the entire emirate each year, highlighting areas with high pollution levels.

Air quality is being analysed by a network of 22 air monitors spread across Abu Dhabi, with 20 stationary monitors and two mobile ones.

Sean Maguire, the Director of Strategic Partnerships at the Clean Air Fund, stated that the extensive adoption of electric vehicles is a long-term strategy for curbing pollution.

He emphasised that the ultimate solution is the electrification of the entire vehicle fleet, but acknowledged that this is a significant challenge.

Currently, there are approximately 1.5 billion vehicles with internal combustion engines on the world’s roads, compared to only 20 million plug-in electric vehicles.

However, he expressed optimism, citing that 4.4 million plug-in electric vehicles were sold in China last year alone. Maguire believes that this is where the future lies in terms of effective action against air pollution.

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