Air quality monitoring
8 November 2019
Press releases from GUAPO

GUAPO leads an expert mission on air quality in Abidjan

GUAPO led the first phase of an expert mission on air quality in Abidjan. Its objective is to establish, first, an overview of the socio-urban dynamics impacting air pollution, of the network of stakeholders and of the health and economic impacts of pollution; and, second, to promote the establishment of an air quality monitoring system and the collection of reliable and comprehensive data that can be used to support the implementation of effective public policies.


Abidjan, like most major cities in West Africa, faces significant air quality challenges. Concentrations of PM2.5, nitrogen dioxide and even sulphur dioxide are much higher than the WHO recommended guideline values. Air pollution in the city is caused by many different sources, making it difficult to identify priorities for action. According to the conclusions of the DACCIWA project (Dynamics Aerosol Chemistry Cloud Interactions in West Africa, report to download at the bottom of the page), domestic fires (use of solid fuels for cooking) rank first among emission sources in Côte d'Ivoire; Waste management is the second most important source, particularly due to uncontrolled incineration and open landfills; and road traffic, with a combination of severe congestion, an ageing vehicle fleet and the use of high-sulphur fuel, is the third largest source of air pollutants in the country. Industry, whose emissions are poorly regulated, and natural sources (particularly bushfires) are also important emission sectors.

In addition to these high concentrations and multiple sources, Abidjan faces a relative shortage of reliable and comprehensive data due to the lack of a permanent network of monitoring stations.


For more information, see the city profile of the Autonomous District of Abidjan.


To address these challenges, representatives of the Autonomous District of Abidjan to GUAPO (Mr Vincent N'Choh Kouaoh, Deputy Governor; Mr Lamine Koita, Director of International Relations; and Dr Célestin Djé Yao, Environmental Health Advisor to the Governor) requested the Secretariat to conduct an expert mission on air quality in Abidjan.

This project is also part of a wider approach taken by GUAPO and its partners in West Africa, in particular with the organisation of an international scientific seminar on air pollution in the region's cities.

Vue de la baie d'Abidjan

Objectives and conduct of the mission

The first phase of the air quality expert mission took place from October 15 to 19, 2019. Elsa Martayan, Director of GUAPO, went to Abidjan to initiate contacts with local institutions, and in particular with the various research departments of the Félix Houphouët-Boigny University (UFHB). The objective was to identify partners who could contribute to a contextual and geographical analysis of the socio - urban dynamics of the stakeholders system and of the health and economic impacts of air pollution. In particular, some very fruitful meetings took place with Dr Ousmane Dembele, geographer at the UFHB and specialist in land development in Abidjan; the team of Professor Dominique Yoboué, from the UFHB's Department of Atmospheric Physics; and Mr Jean-Marc Hougard and Mrs Dominique Couret, from the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD).

Dr. Dembele, in collaboration with local scientific partners, will lead a study on:

        - Identification and location of pollution sources;

        - A socio-geographical and institutional approach to local air quality stakeholders;

        - Governance of emitting sectors to identify ways of effectively regulating air pollutant emissions.


The second phase of this expert mission, to take place in January 2020 in partnership with Airparif, will aim to assess the current state of air quality monitoring in Abidjan (on-site equipment, available data), assess the development potential of the monitoring network (installation of sensors, NO2 measurements using passive samplers) and strengthen local capacities (training on equipment maintenance and data analysis).