International air quality programme will provide real-time data from US diplomatic posts around the world

The US State Department and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have launched a joint international air quality programme. Secretary of State John Kerry and EPA chief Gina McCarthy signed an agreement to provide better information on air quality at certain embassies and consulates around the world, with the goal of reducing health risks from outdoor air pollution. They suggested that the effort will also offer greater opportunities for the US to create partnerships on air quality with other nations.

Although air pollution is a ‘serious and growing health threat worldwide’, the agencies said real-time air quality data is not available in many areas. The new partnership will use the EPA’s existing domestic AirNow system, which is an online platform that informs Americans about the quality of their air. In particular, the State Department will build on this network by placing air quality monitors at select American diplomatic posts where continuous fine particle pollution data is lacking. The agency will then publicly share this data through the EPA’s AirNow website.