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Environment 2007

Achievements and Planned Activities for (2000-2001)

Air Quality

The protection of the air environment from pollution presents one of the primary lines of action of the MSEA and EEAA, reflected by the long-term commitment to this issue as expressed by the five year action plan. This is in line with the continuous efforts in enforcing existing environmental legislation, as air quality is one of the principal issues addressed in Law 4/1994 for the Environment.

Initiatives and activities are carried out on both the strategic and operational levels. On a strategic level, the preparation of an Air Quality Management Strategy is underway, primarily addressing air pollution resulting from the mismanagement of solid waste, as well as pollution abatement from mobile sources. Moreover, an emissions inventory in Greater Cairo including all sources of air pollution, industrial and non-industrial, is to be carried out with support from the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and in collaboration with the Finnish-supported initiative concerned with the conduct of an industrial emissions inventory for Cairo Governorate. On an operational level, a number of activities and initiatives were carried out during 2000/2001 with a particular focus on the Greater Cairo area, where the highest levels of air pollution occur:

Monitoring of Ambient Air Quality:

A comprehensive national air quality monitoring system has been established over the past years as part of Environmental Information and Monitoring Program ( EIMP ) of EEAA, implemented with support from the Danish Government. The monitoring system has been operational for the past two years, measuring concentrations of common air pollution parameters such as sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), ozone (O3) and particulate matter (PM10). This is carried out by 42 monitoring stations throughout the country. In this respect, in 2001, EEAA took over full responsibility for the operation and maintenance of the system, with Danish technical assistance to be gradually phased out over the next three years.

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   Cairo Air Monitoring Stations

Cairo Air Monitoring Stations

The focus of this air monitoring program during 2000/2001 has been on establishing procedures for efficient utilisation and dissemination of the collected data. To this end a website has been established, where monthly reports on air quality are available. Moreover, further progress has been made with respect to integrating the air pollution monitoring database with the information management system of EEAA. Two new monitoring stations were added to the network during 2000/2001, and an additional station will be installed during the coming year 2001/2002 in the Delta region.

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  Environmental Information and Monitoring Program

Environmental Information and Monitoring Program

Air quality in Greater Cairo is a major concern to the Government of Egypt, particularly with regards to adverse health impacts. In this context, the MSEA and its executive institution the EEAA, are carefully overlooking the developments in the ambient concentrations of lead and fine particulate matter through a network of 36 additional monitoring stations scattered throughout the city. This monitoring network has been operational since 1998 and was established in cooperation with the Government of the United States through an initiative for the improvement of air quality in Cairo. In 2000/2001 activities in this regard were focused on developing and applying a methodology whereby specific pollution sources can be pointed out based on the ambient monitoring data. Furthermore, the collected monitoring data are continuously used to evaluate the effectiveness of various efforts to reduce lead and particulate emissions. For example, the relocation of a major lead smelter plant away from the Shoubra El Kheima area during the past year has resulted in a decrease in ambient lead concentrations.

Finally, a pilot phase of an early warning system producing 3-day forecasts for air pollution levels in Greater Cairo Region has been established in cooperation with the Egyptian Meteorological Authority. The air pollution forecasts are produced using measured concentrations of fine particulate matter from monitoring networks and meteorological data. The testing and validation of this pilot phase emphasized the need for further development of the system in order to be more consistent and reliable. Therefore, it is currently under evaluation and is reviewed for updating.

Air Quality

Air quality is monitored at 42 monitoring stations distributed throughout the country, through the measurement of a number of parameters, such as PM10, sulphur dioxide, and carbon monoxide. For the year 2000, PM10 presented the most critical air quality problem in Egypt, primarily due to high background values resulting from dust blown from the desert. The highest recorded PM10 values were found in industrial and heavy traffic areas.

Sulphur dioxide values were generally falling within the limits set by Law 4/1994. However, these were occasionally exceeded in a number of industrial areas. As for nitrogen dioxide, the recorded values were found to also fall within the limits of Law 4/1994. Finally, concentrations of carbon monoxide were found to exceed the limits in heavy traffic areas, particularly during traffic congestion.

Reduction of Vehicle Emissions in Greater Cairo:

With more than one million vehicles on the streets, mobile emissions are one of the major sources of air pollution in Greater Cairo. Vehicle emissions of fine particulate matter and other pollutants are significant, and the MSEA is currently working towards a tighter control over vehicle emissions.

During 2000/2001, on-the-road testing of vehicles with mobile emission analysers have continued in partnership with the Ministry of Interior. Moreover, a network of stationary facilities for emissions testing, operated through the Traffic Department has been identified as the most feasible option for systematic testing of vehicles in the long term. Procedures for establishing such facilities at the centres for licenses renewal have been initiated.

With the objective of demonstrating the feasibility of replacing diesel-fuelled city public transport buses with compressed natural gas (CNG) the introduction of CNG buses into the fleets of the public bus companies of Greater Cairo is currently taking place. In 2000/2001, twenty CNG buses were on the road, and the infrastructure for their operation and maintenance was in place. Furthermore, a program has been established whereby the worst polluters among the fleet of more than 4500 diesel fuelled public buses are identified and subsequently tuned-up or replaced, in line with the efforts for immediate improvements to the air quality in Greater Cairo. Finally, a reference laboratory for setting up emission limits for primarily large vehicles has been established. Future plans comprise a study investigating the best approaches to be adopted by the public bus companies in Cairo for making use of funding mechanisms available in Egypt for supporting activities concerned with the extension of the CNG bus fleet.

Reduction of Emissions from Lead Smelters in Greater Cairo:

After the successful introduction of lead-free gasoline, the lead smelting industry has become the main source of lead emissions in Cairo. The secondary lead smelting industry produces elemental lead and lead alloys by reclaiming lead, primarily from scrap automobile and truck batteries. The 1999-2000 Lead Emissions Inventory published in 2001 provides the most recent documentation of the emissions from lead smelters and other stationary sources

Lead Emissions Inventory for the Greater Cairo Area

The 1999-2000 inventory of stationary lead emission sources in Greater Cairo clearly shows that secondary lead smelters, and in particular rotary furnaces at these facilities, are the most significant sources of lead emissions in the city.

According to the study, lead emissions experienced a decrease of about 30 % in 2000 compared to 1999. Of the total emission in 2000, 79 % came from lead smelting activities, compared to 82% in 1999, and 20% resulted from the combustion of mazout in 2000, compared to 18 % in 1999.

The reduction in the total emissions is primarily due to a production decrease in the lead smelting industry in Greater Cairo as well as switching to Natural Gas (NG) instead of mazout in the industrial and power generation sectors.

The Government of Egypt's Lead Smelter Action Plan addresses the high emissions from the smelters by promoting the use of more environmentally friendly technology in the smelting industry, and by supporting the relocation of all lead smelting activities away from densely populated areas. In this respect, plans for 2001/2002 entail the building of the first prototype bag house filter in Egypt. Moreover, plans are underway for the relocation of lead smelting activities from Shoubra El Kheima to Abu Zabaal, as well as for site remediation, presenting a pilot study for future replication.

Conversion to the Use of Natural Gas:

Within the framework of the cooperation between MSEA, EEAA, and the Ministries of Electricity and Petroleum for the improvement of air quality, the conversion of the power plants in the Greater Cairo region from the use of fossil fuels to that of natural gas, was successfully carried out, thus reducing ambient concentrations of sulphur dioxide. In addition, and following the implementation of three demonstration projects for the environmental upgrading of brick factories and their conversion to natural gas use for their combustion processes, the Egyptian Environmental Initiatives Fund will provide technical and financial assistance for the further upgrading of another 50 factories in the area of Arab Abu Saed, encompassing the conversion of their combustion processes to the use of natural gas. This initiative, to be started in 2001/2002, will be supported by the Climate Change Secretariat of Canada.

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