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The U.S. Department of State and the Environmental Protection Agency are launching a joint effort aimed to provide U.S. citizens and government personnel with better air quality information at oversea posts while looking to create partnerships on air quality with other nations.

Secretary of State John Kerry and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy signed a statement of intent Feb 18 to launch a new air quality partnership to provide U.S. citizens and government personnel with better information on air quality at select embassies and consulates around the world to reduce health risks from outdoor air pollution. The agreement is also intended to offer greater opportunities for the United States to create partnerships on air quality with other nations. 

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The partnership will use EPA’s existing domestic AirNow system, which is an online platform designed to help Americans understand how clean or polluted their outdoor air is. To build on this network, the Department of State plans to place air quality monitors at select American diplomatic posts where continuous fine particle pollution (PM 2.5) data is currently of limited availability, and to publicly share this data through EPA’s AirNow website.

The agreement also calls for a new fellowship program that will enable technical experts in the United States to visit participating diplomatic missions to help transfer skills and build capacity for air quality monitoring data analysis and maintenance. These visits will also include the opportunity for training and exchanges with the host governments and other participants.