N.C. A&T Faculty Member Organizes International Workshop on Air Quality Decline in African Cities

By Jamie Crockett / 06/22/2020 College of Science and Technology

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (June 22, 2020) – Solomon Bililign, Ph.D., a professor of physics at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, is the chair of a nine-person international committee for a three-day workshop on Pilot Design for Air Quality in Africa, which will be held at the University of Maryland College Park this fall. Experts from the U.S., Ethiopia and Europe will develop research methodology to better measure and understand sources and chemistry of pollutants in emerging African megacities like Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The World Health Organization reports that nearly 1 million premature deaths occur every year in Africa because of outdoor and household air pollutions. Several factors contribute to poor air quality in African cities including a rise in car ownership, population growth, poor regulations, poor waste management and the use of biomass fuels for energy production.

“Decline in air quality affects the health, mortality and productivity of the people living and working in Africa’s megacities,” said Bililign. “Bringing these experts together will help us advance air quality research and propose sustainable solutions to policy makers in Africa that will help us combat these issues.”

Speakers from academic institutions and federal agencies will discuss relevant topics including air quality, health and measurement techniques.

From these discussions, experts will establish a path forward for short- and long-term measurement approaches and data collection aimed to address current climate impacts and future trends unique to African megacities that historically have been largely unquantified. Participants will also find ways to strengthen long-term collaborations between HBCU faculty and African scientists.  

The workshop received funding from the National Science Foundation through a proposal submitted by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR).

Bililign, whose research is mainly focused on the impact of biomass burning aerosols emitted in domestic use, traveled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in January 2020 to discuss and evaluate the air quality sensors installed in the city. While there, he held a one-day workshop for approximately 50 academic, government agency and U.S. Embassy representatives, which resulted in the formation of a local organizing committee that will host a follow-up workshop. In December 2019, he presented research on long-term aerosol monitoring of two African cities at the American Geophysical Union annual conference.

To learn more about the workshop, please visit the website.

Media Contact Information: jicrockett@ncat.edu

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