EPA Administrator Regan Wraps up Successful Mission to Africa, Reaffirms Commitment to Partnerships in Mozambique and Ghana
WASHINGTON — EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan returned from Africa this week after completing a successful mission to Mozambique and Ghana, where he reinforced EPA’s commitment to partnering with leaders, young people, and advocates to develop shared solutions to environmental challenges. Administrator Regan participated in a range of activities, from meetings with national leaders, to touring innovative facilities addressing pollution, to engaging with youth advocates to learn first-hand about local environmental challenges and how young people are leading the way to healthier communities.
Administrator Regan’s mission to Africa came in response to President Biden’s call to action at the 2022 U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit to expand substantive and meaningful partnerships with African countries, institutions, and people across the continent.
“I’ve returned from Africa invigorated by the people of Mozambique and Ghana – especially the young people I met along the way – whose work to develop solutions to tackle pollution in their communities is incredibly inspiring,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Thanks to President Biden’s vision for leaders across his cabinet to engage the continent in a meaningful way, EPA now has stronger partnerships with leaders and advocates on the ground to tackle our most pressing environmental challenges together.”
Here are some highlights from Administrator Regan’s trip:
Administrator Regan joined U.S. Ambassador to Mozambique Peter H. Vrooman at a ceremony to announce a new air quality monitor at the U.S. Embassy in Maputo. Maputo has now joined nearly 80 U.S. embassies and consulates across the world to monitor air quality and display it on EPA’s AirNow website – empowering communities to make informed decisions about their health and safety.
The Administrator also announced that EPA will work with Mozambican government officials to provide technical assistance surrounding the use of its AERMOD Air Modeling software, which uses state-of-the-art technology for air quality modeling.
During a meeting with his counterpart in Mozambique, Ivete Joaquim Maibaze, Minister of Land and Environment, the two leaders discussed the impact of mining operations on the environment and local communities. EPA announced that it will provide technical assistance and guidance to help the Mozambican government and civil society more meaningfully engage in public processes around responsible mining operations.
Administrator Regan met with youth activists from Geração Consciente leading clean-up efforts on Fisherman’s Beach, to hear how they are raising awareness of environmental issues, mangrove restoration, and trash cleanup from their beaches.
During a visit at Macaneta Beach, Administrator Regan met with members from the community and learned from local leaders about efforts to address worsening coastal erosion, including by placing old tires along the shoreline. EPA experts will partner with U.S. Geological Society counterparts to host a webinar with a community in Mozambique that is struggling with the impacts of coastal erosion.
While in Mozambique, Administrator Regan met with local advocates and business leaders that have developed advanced ideas to use clean energy to power critical services, as well as address pollution challenges from plastics and waste.
He visited the site of a project funded in part by USAID to harness solar energy to power a water tower that can provide reliable water to up to 8,000 people in the surrounding area.
The Administrator also visited a “Glass House” made of bottles that have been picked up from the nearby beach, helping to educate and inspire children about the impact of marine litter.
The Administrator visited a woman-owned biomedical manufacturing company called BioMec that repurposes plastic collected from Mozambique's shores to create custom prosthetics.
While in Vilankulo, the Administrator met with waste collectors who have removed over 500 tons of waste and turned it into bricks for infrastructure projects.
At a visit to the ParCo facility in Vilankulo, the Administrator learned about how innovative solutions to remove waste from the ocean can have a profound impact on improving the lives of children and all people.
While in Ghana, Administrator Regan was joined by NAACP President and CEO, Derrick Johnson. On their first day together, the two leaders visited the home and final resting place of Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois, and they both laid wreaths in his honor and paid their respects to the civil rights icon.
Administrator Regan and President Johnson also visited Cape Coast Castle, where they laid wreaths at the site that once served as a holding facility for enslaved Africans before they were transported to the Americas. While at Cape Coast, the leaders met with Cape Coast paramount chief Osabarima Kwesi Atta II and discussed an array of issues, including climate change and impact it has had on the community over the years.
Administrator Regan visited Electro Recycling Ghana, which has developed an innovative approach to refurbish, reuse, and recycle electronic waste. At the same time, EPA announced it will help build capacity for e-waste management by featuring Ghana at an upcoming International E-Waste Management Network Webinar and by providing support for an e-waste technical expert from the Government of Ghana to participate in the annual IEMN meeting.
While also in Ghana, Administrator Regan took a tour of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research Cookstove Lab, and there he announced that EPA provided financial support for the lab director to attend a conference for lab and field research on cookstoves, as well as provide technical assistance to the lab.
Administrator Regan and President Johnson toured the community of Jamestown with her excellency, The Second Lady of Ghana, Samira Bawumia, to meet with mothers who are using cleaner, more efficient cookstoves to put food on the table and provide for their families.
On his last day in Ghana, the Administrator visited Environment 360 to meet with young activists and entrepreneurial women that are uplifting their communities.