Rwanda has launched the first African Air Quality and Climate Laboratory equipped with the “Medusa system” that will measure more than 50 gases that deplete the ozone layer.
The ozone layer is a region of the stratosphere, between 15 and 30 kilometres in altitude, containing a relatively high concentration of ozone that serves as a shield from the harmful ultraviolet radiation emitted by the sun.
The $2 million project is being implemented by the ministries of Education, Environment and Rwanda Meteorological Agency in partnership with the University of Massachusetts.
According to Eugene Mutimura, the Minister for Education, the laboratory which will be based at the University of Rwanda’s College of Science and Technology, will have equipments installed on top of Mugogo Mountain in Nyabihu District and at Kalisimbi volcano so as to measure Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) that deplete the ozone layer.
The equipment on the mountains will observe climate change in Africa, detect the sources and the amount of the gases being emitted in regional countries and inside Rwanda.
“This climate observatory project that set up the centre of excellence in Africa with air quality and climate lab will be informing policy makers on how to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
Policy makers will be able to come up with measures to control car emissions, curbing deforestation and encouraging more tree planting, reducing use of fossil fuels, developing smart green cities and transport among many others,” he said.
He added that a group of Rwandan technicians who studied atmospheric sciences from the University of Massachusetts are implementing the project.
Dr Jimmy Gasore, an atmospheric scientist and chief scientist of the climate observatory project said that with climate observation, the government can predict weather events for adaptation and mitigation measures.
“We are a team of technicians working on measuring if these global warming gases such as carbon dioxide and Hydrofluorocarbons are being reduced or not,” he said
Gasore added that the climate lab will also coordinate eight other air quality testing equipment across all provinces that monitor and show sources of air pollution in various parts of the country.
He noted that the data from the system will also enable Rwandan experts during different negotiations on climate agreements.