The Uganda National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) Air Quality Fellowship includes development of National Air Quality Regulations, training and outreach. Ms. Amy Zimpfer, P.E., has been matched with the Uganda NEMA project team under the direction of Dr. Tom Okurut, Executive Director of NEMA, and Ms. Christine Akello, Deputy Executive Director and staffed by Jennifer Kutesakwe, Senior Environment Inspector. [Note: Dr. Okurut and Ms. Akello have since left NEMA.] As Uganda’s population grows, air pollution from industrial activities, vehicles, construction, and other sources is increasing. As directed in the National Environment Act of 2019, Uganda-NEMA has developed Draft National Air Quality Regulations that will establish national ambient air quality standards and comprehensive air pollution mitigation programs. Ms. Zimpfer is providing technical assistance throughout this process as Uganda-NEMA finalizes the National Air Quality Regulations and associated emission standards, licensing provisions, air quality management planning, monitoring and other requirements. NEMA is building consensus across multiple Ugandan stakeholder groups and the public as they move to adopt the final air quality regulations by the end of 2021.
The Uganda NEMA Fellowship kick-off meeting was in December 2019, with in-country assistance planned for Spring 2020. However, with the coronavirus pandemic restrictions beginning in March 2020, the fellowship pivoted to a fully remote format with extensive meetings and trainings via Zoom and other electronic means. The Fellowship period is scheduled to extend to mid-2022, with the possibility of one in-country visit.
High Level Goal 1: Develop final air quality regulation and air quality standards in Uganda to mitigate air pollution
High Level Goal 2: Develop the capacity for air quality management in Uganda
High Level Goal 3: Provide outreach and communication
In addition to the lead agency Uganda NEMA, other Ugandan groups that participate in the air quality project include Uganda Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), AirQo and Makerere University, Ministry of Water and Environment, Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS), Ministry of Works and Transport, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Petroleum Authority of Uganda, Uganda Manufacturers Association, and others.
Ms. Zimpfer actively supports the Air Quality Regulations Team established by NEMA to refine and amend the Uganda Draft National Air Quality Regulations for adoption. The Team includes air pollution scientists and engineers from NEMA, KCCA, academia, and other government and professional institutions. It meets via Zoom several times each month, with additional smaller working group meetings held on specific issues. Ms. Zimpfer regularly prepares for and participates in Team and small work group sessions, providing recommendations on ambient air quality standards, emission control performance standards, licensing and permitting, compliance and monitoring programs, and approaches to air quality planning. She provides training on air quality management, permitting, and emissions controls. Ms. Zimpfer also engages in outreach through events such as International Air Quality Awareness Week, and seeks collaboration with international organizations such as the World Bank, World Health Organizations and others.
The Uganda Draft National Air Quality Regulations include a series of 17 regulatory schedules that will establish national ambient air quality standards and emission limits for industrial, mobile, and other pollution sources. The Uganda-NEMA Air Quality Regulations Team began with a review of Schedule 2 (Ambient Air Quality Standards for Criteria Air Pollutants, averaging period and concentration limits), and the group has reached consensus on a draft set of health protective ambient air quality standards, building on WHO ambient air quality standards guidelines, U.S. National Ambient Air Quality Standards, East African air quality standards, and others. The group turned next to Schedule 3 (Priority Air Pollutants, for each emission source type and industry sectors), Schedule 4 (Stationary/Point Source Maximum Permissible Emissions Limits, for criteria pollutants, hydrocarbons, pesticides, etc.), Schedule 5 (Vehicle Standards), and Schedule 6 (Industrial Sector Standards). The Team has clarified the purpose of each schedule as laid out in the draft Regulations and is drafting practical health-based approaches that can be implemented by NEMA and others and will result in better air pollution management. The Team evaluated each pollutant, the units of measure, the magnitude of the emission limit, type of emission source, and practicalities of implementation. The Team compared the standards and regulations to the limits and approaches (e.g., performance base emission standards vs. numeric limits) set in other countries to give a basis of understanding for the range of values internationally, thus informing decisions for the Uganda standards and regulations ultimately to be adopted. A similar approach is being taken on all the schedules.
2020 Technical Training Sessions
2021 Technical Training Sessions
NOTE: In addition to these listed sessions, Ms. Zimpfer has provided several comments and technical resource papers on various aspects of the draft Regulations including air quality standards, motor vehicle regulation, and stationary source controls.
Across the larger Fellowship program, Ms. Zimpfer and Dr. Mukherjee (see Overview of Uganda Kampala Capital City - Improve Air Quality), the two Fellows who are working in Uganda, hold periodic coordination meetings to jointly discuss their respective projects. Collaborative sessions have also been held with other AQ Fellows serving in Ghana and Indonesia. As an additional synergy-building effort, the Uganda-KCCA team are invited to participate in all Uganda-NEMA training sessions, and the Fellow for Uganda-KCCA also participates in the NEMA meetings and training sessions.
Ms. Zimpfer, P.E., is a retired Associate Director with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, where she led air pollution and climate change initiatives throughout the Southwestern U.S. Hawaii, the Pacific Islands and the US/Mexico Border. She has provided environmental training and assistance in SE Asia, Eastern Europe, and Central America. She served as a U.S. Embassy Science Fellow in Portugal and as a Commissioner on the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission and helped establish the nonprofit organizations Friends of the San Francisco Estuary and the San Francisco Estuarine Institute. Ms. Zimpfer is a registered professional civil engineer and has been a guest lecturer at University of California and Stanford University. Through this fellowship work, she provides expertise as an independent scientist, and her views do not represent any U.S. institution or organization.
Dr. Okurut is Executive Director of the National Emission Management Authority (NEMA), and Ms. Akello is the Deputy Executive Director. Ms. Kutesakwe is a Senior Environment Inspector with NEMA who staffs the Technical Workgroup and is working closely with the AQ Fellow
Ms. Kutesakwe is a Senior Environment Inspector with NEMA who staffs the Technical Workgroup and is working closely with the AQ Fellow
By teleworking and meeting virtually, the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) Uganda, Kampala Capital City Authority - KCCA, and AirQo are reviewing Uganda's National Air Quality Standards and establishing a database for Kampala city's air pollutants with the backing of U.S. air quality experts Ms. Amy Zimpfer and Dr. Binji Mukherjee. Their work will improve the air quality in Uganda for its citizens and save lives.