According to Prof. Engineer Bainomugisha, the leader of the AirQo, a Makerere University project aimed at collecting, analysing and forecasting air quality data in Uganda, Kampala’s air quality index, data from their air monitoring systems shows that in the last seven months, pollution increased to its peak in January 2022 across the country.
“Daily air quality levels were largely within the moderate and unhealthy zones, with Kampala metropolitan registering higher pollution levels compared to Jinja and Fort Portal Cities where AirQo has monitoring systems. Pollution hotspots in Kampala metropolitan include Busega in Lubaga Division, Kireka in Kira Municipality and the city center,”Prof.Bainomugisha said.
Data shows that air pollution levels are at the highest, especially in Kampala during the peak hours of the morning and evening when traffic is too much on the road.
“Unpaved roads, domestic solid biomass energy uses, exhaust and non-exhaust emissions from vehicles, industrial emissions and open burning of solid waste are the main sources of air pollution in Kampala. With the ever-increasing urban population, air pollution in Kampala City is projected to worsen if no deliberate interventions are implemented,” the KCCA director for public health and environment Dr Daniel said.
He added that from January – March, 2022, data from the Kampala City air quality monitoring system showed that the average particulate matter 2.5 levels were significantly higher than the WHO recommended levels across all divisions including Central, Kawempe, Nakawa, Makindye, and Lubaga. Kawempe division recorded the highest levels of air pollution at 57.7 µg/m3 during this observation period.
He also noted that air pollution is one of the leading risk factors for morbidity and mortality contributing to over seven million annual premature deaths globally, the majority from urban environments. “Particularly, populations in fast-growing urban centres in developing countries continuously face higher risks of air pollution-related health threats. Unfortunately for Kampala, all the residents (100%) are exposed to hazardous air pollution. This means the 5,000,000 people that spend day time in Kampala are exposed to unsafe air pollution levels daily,”Dr.Okello said.
Personal measures to reduce pollution
Service your car/ Bodaboda regularly; Keep the tyres on your car or bodaboda properly inflated and get regular checkups. Save fuel and reduce air pollution.
Avoid idling; Turn off your ignition if you’re stuck in traffic. Save fuel and reduce air pollution
Walk or cycle; Walking or cycling is a good way to clock in some exercise in a simple and cost-effective way while also reducing your carbon footprint. Save fuel and reduce air pollution.
Use alternative transportation (bus or carpool) to get to work one day per week; This will not only save you money but it will also save the environment.
Reduce and reuse: Cut down on single-use plastic products: Single-use plastics pollute the environment and fuel air pollution. Carry reusable shopping bags which will reduce your plastic usage.
of your garbage properly; Avoid burning your garbage and instead sort it for disposal.