A national workshop on sulphur reduction as a means improve urban air quality in Mali was held on 11-12 March in Bamako, Mali. The workshop, organized by the Direction Nationale de l'Assainissement et du Controle des Pollutions et des Nuisances was officiated by Mr Cheickne Sidibe, the Technical Advisor to the Minister of Environment and Sanitation of Mali.
Mali imports diesel fuels with up to 1% (10,000 parts per million (ppm)) sulphur. The main objective of the workshop was to sensitize stakeholders - including government agencies, oil companies, NGOs, mechanics, garage owners, transporters and drivers - on the health, vehicle and environmental benefits of using lower sulphur fuels, identify financial and technical constraints of moving to lower sulphur fuels and promote the importation of lower sulphur fuels (500ppm in the short term and 50ppm as the long term goal). The adoption of cleaner vehicles concurrent with cleaner fuels was also discussed.
Representatives of Benin and Togo participated in the workshop and gave their experience in adopting clean fuels and vehicles. A task team was formed to implement the recommendation of the workshop to reduce sulphur levels in diesel. It was proposed that the task teams formed in Benin, Togo and Mali meet at a later date in 2009 to agree on a joint strategy to import low sulphur fuels.