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Kisenyi, Kawempe Have the Worst Air Quality in Kampala- Report

The report attributes the high AQI readings to several human, economic and social activities especially vehicular emissions during traffic congestion, dust from unpaved roads and grain mills.
Kampala Air Quality worsen as the city reopens


The new Air Quality Index report for the month of September lists Kisenyi and Kawempe suburbs as areas with the worst air in Kampala Capital City.

   

Giving monthly air quality reports is a new initiative by the National Environment Management Authority in collaboration with Kampala Capital City Authority and Airqo, a scheme by researchers from Makerere University geared towards improving air quality.   

According to NEMA’s report, during the reporting period Kisenyi, and Kawempe posted an average ambient air quality of AQI 157 far beyond the recommended AQI 100. The Air Quality Index scale runs from 0 to 300+ where 0 to 50 is considered good, 51 to 100 is moderate, 101 to 150 is unhealthy for sensitive groups of people, 151 to 200 unhealthy while 201 to 300+ is very unhealthy.

The report attributes the high AQI readings to several human, economic and social activities especially vehicular emissions during traffic congestion, dust from unpaved roads and grain mills.   

  

The report also indicated that the best air was registered around the Ministry of Health Headquarters in Wandegeya with AQI 110 and City Hall in Kampala central with AQI 116. However, data collected from various monitors indicates that Kampala’s air is generally unhealthy with an average of AQI 126.  

Uganda is named among the top 30 most air polluted countries in the world alongside Mali and Ghana, on the African continent. Kampala is also ranked number five among the top ten most air-polluted cities in Africa.

The scary figures had dropped during the COVID-19 induced lockdown which put restrictions on vehicular movement but they rose again when the lockdown was lifted.

Tony Achedria, the Nema spokesperson, says that the authority is challenged with the limited number of air quality monitors to provide them with data that can inform policies and actions geared towards improving the situation.

    

“Having real-time data on air quality can inform policies on how air quality can be improved and we all know that pollution is dangerous to human health and the environment, but currently, there are only 30 air quality monitors and they are installed in Kampala city,” says Achedria.

Meanwhile, the new World Health Organization-WHO air quality guidelines have recently exposed that Uganda's air quality situation is much worse than previously thought, and thus mounted pressure on the country to take measures to improve air quality with NEMA working on what will be the country’s first air quality standards and regulations.

The draft regulations include; emission limits for industrial sources, cars, trucks, motorcycles, and other mobile sources, lay out odor standards and requirements for indoor air, and address workers' protection. They also establish a permit and compliance program for industrial sources and associated fees. 

According to the draft recently accessed by Uganda Radio Network, NEMA prohibits the emission of objectionable matter or obnoxious smell including smoke, gases, vapors fumes, grit, and dust by any person or company. 

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