“We should be more concerned about air pollution in Kampala” - Deo Okure - Foundation Office Uganda and South Sudan
Air pollution is a silent killer in Uganda and kills more people than malaria and HIV combined. Around the world 4.2 million people die as a result of exposure to ambient (outdoor) air pollution according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Deo Okure who is an air quality specialist at AirQo, a project of Makerere University’s College of Computing, gave the audience an overview about the state of pollution in Kampala city. To work towards Airqo’s vision of “clean air for all African cities”, the organization have installed air quality machines on different places around the city and as well on BodaBoda, in order to collect and monitor data’s about the air quality in Kampala.
Okure emphasized the importance of knowing about which air pollution rates are in which are, during which time and recommended that people should check out their website and download computer/phone applications to know the quality of air in their surroundings. Airqo’s website – www.airqo.net provides good and accurate data for air quality in Kampala while the global website: www.airvisual.com is good one too.
“We should be more concerned about air pollution in Kampala”, Okure warned.
What does Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) have in Plan to Curb Air Pollution? Where does the pollution come from? What are the pollutants, what are the solutions and which alternatives are there. Dr. Dan Okello, the Director of Public Health and Environment at KCCA provided very elaborate responses to these questions. “It starts with us because if people don’t change their behavers, every effort is useless. The solutions are with us but it is a mindset”.
KCCA is already making some good progress to monitor air quality and take proactive measures. For instance, the authority has installed air quality monitor machines in 25 sites around the city, offer workshops to schools to strengthens the children in their understanding of how to be more aware about air pollution and what everyone at home can do to have a better and cleaner air in their area and Kampala. “Let us sensitize each other and our neighbors, there isn’t much awareness about this topic”.
Dr. Noleb Mugisha from the Ugandan Cancer Institute facilitated about the health and environmental costs of air pollution. "The air you breath in is full of poisons” he reiterated. For example, long term air pollution exposure is a direct cause of lung cancer.“ If this isn’t address, our children will have to wear masks in the near future during particular hours in Uganda”.
The African Center for Trade and Development (ACTADE) hosted the discussion together with KAS under their Platform for Ugandan Green Growth (PLUG) initiative. Susan Nanduddu from ACTADE concluded that we need to create more awareness and asked at the end of the discussion the audience: “What is that small or big action that you are going to go green?”