U.S. Embassy Monitors Air Quality in Bamako

U.S. Mission Mali Air Quality Monitor

Air pollution is a large and growing global threat to human health with significant economic consequences. To better understand the air pollution levels in Bamako, the U.S. Embassy has installed a regulatory-grade air monitor on the Embassy compound.  The data collected by this monitor can help empower everyone to take steps to reduce their exposure to air pollution.

We are pleased to announce that real-time reports from the monitor are now available online at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) AirNow website:


The U.S. Embassy’s air quality monitor measures airborne fine particulate matter (commonly referred to as PM 2.5 because they are less than or equal to 2.5 microns in diameter) on the compound of the U.S. Embassy in Bamako. This monitor measures the concentration of fine particulates in the air on an hourly basis. Data from this single monitoring station cannot be applied to the entire city but may be used to gauge the advisability of outdoor activities given the air quality in Bamako’s ACI 2000 neighborhood and its immediate surroundings. You can read the AirNow data using the EPA’s Air Quality Index (AQI). The AQI converts air quality measurements from our monitor to values that correspond to health-based categories with an associated color-coded chart.

The AQI categories can help you use air quality information to make decisions that will protect your health – whether you should be active outside or consider moving activities indoors. PM2.5 is a known risk factor for adverse health effects: these fine particulates can work their way deep into the lungs and even pass into the bloodstream. As indicated on the AQI chart, some people may be particularly sensitive to air pollution, including those with heart or lung disease (e.g., asthma), older adults, pregnant women, children, and teenagers.

PM2.5 has many sources: emissions from motor vehicles and industry, wildfires, dust and sandstorms, and reactions among pollutants in the atmosphere. PM2.5 is made up of many different chemical compounds. With its diverse sources and chemical composition, PM2.5 is considered a good indicator of general air quality in a community.