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Published: 20 June 2019

Surrey to lead Cairo air pollution summit

The University of Surrey is set to lead an international summit in Cairo, Egypt that calls on countries across the world to accelerate efforts to make clean air a basic human right.

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Air pollution causes seven million premature deaths worldwide, disproportionately affecting poor and vulnerable communities and exacerbating inequalities in Official Development Assistance (ODA) countries.

Today (Thursday 20 June), a group of international academics, government professionals and private sector representatives will gather at the American University in Cairo (AUC) to discuss how they can develop a global platform to bring cleaner air to all by sharing knowledge and coordinating awareness campaigns.

The Cairo event is part of a two-year project: Clean Air Engineering for Cities (CArE-Cities), which brings together eleven cities from ODA countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The project’s first meeting was held at Surrey earlier in the year.

The Cairo summit follows a similar event organised by Surrey’s Global Centre for Clean Air Research (GCARE) in 2018, where experts once again gathered at AUC to discuss how to improve air quality, specifically in Europe and the Middle East.

Professor Prashant Kumar, Director of GCARE at the University of Surrey, said: “If we are to realise our collaborative vision of “clean air for all” we must continue to hold events such as these workshops, where a full and frank exchange of ideas is encouraged. It is through these honest conversations and sharing of research that new partnerships are formed and – hopefully – a new path forward to making our planet’s air cleaner and safer for generations to come.”

Dr Ahmed El-Gendy, Director of the Environmental Program at AUC, said: “Air pollution is a complex global issue. It is one of the major environmental challenges currently facing most cities worldwide. Therefore, it has been the focus of many recent global events on the environment, aiming for solutions to such a challenge. We are glad to host this workshop in the AUC as part of our collaboration with the University of Surrey. This workshop will bring world class experts and academics in this field from Egypt and Europe aiming for fruitful collaborations that could contribute to solutions for the air pollution problems in cities. We welcome all the participants in this workshop and look forward to the continuation of our successful collaboration.”

Professor David Sampson, Vice Provost, Research and Innovation at the University of Surrey, said: “Collaboration is in the DNA of the University of Surrey. Professor Kumar and our researchers are further evidence of our commitment to leading the way on collaborative research to improve the health of our planet and to make sure that the next generation have safe and clean air. Pollution and its effects on millions across the globe – especially those in vulnerable countries – should be a concern to us all. It is encouraging to see us contributing so strongly to this global challenge.”

Professor Vince Emery, Senior Vice-President (Global) at the University of Surrey, said: “It gives me great pleasure to see how rapidly the Clean Air Engineering for Cities project is growing. The project is clearly making an impact and allowing the dialogue around air quality to take centre stage globally. These workshops provide the tools, policies and actions needed to improve quality of life with commensurate benefits for reducing premature deaths caused by air pollution.”

For more information on the workshop, please visit the GCARE website.