PUBLISHED — 25th, June 2024

Taking personal responsibility in fighting air pollution is becoming a rallying cry in Kampala. Recently, the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) organized a two-day training for its staff on air quality management.

The training delved into the dire consequences of both short- and long-term exposure to air pollution, linking it to a range of diseases such as stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and various cancers.

World Health Organization (WHO), evidence suggests that air pollution exposure is also linked to conditions like type 2 diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia.

To confront this challenge head-on, the training included visits to Kampala's air quality monitoring sites, offering participants a first hand look at the city's pollution sources and ongoing efforts to combat them.

One notable visit was to Makerere University, where the AirQo project, spearheading air quality improvements across Uganda and Africa, is based.

Here, participants learned about the advanced technologies and methodologies employed in monitoring air quality, as well as the alarming statistics depicting Kampala's air pollution levels.

Professor Engineer Bainomugisha, leading the AirQo Project, emphasized the importance of individual responsibility in ensuring clean air.

Starting from homes, individuals were encouraged to embrace green mobility, green energy, planting trees among other aspects that improve air quality.

Angela Nshimye further underscored this during her presentation, highlighting the essential elements of an effective air quality management program: continuous monitoring, identifying pollution sources, and implementing targeted interventions.

According to a study by AirQo, Kampala's primary air pollution sources include residential combustion, transportation, dust, industry, and waste burning.

These findings emphasize the need for comprehensive strategies targeting each pollution source. Kampala's average air pollution level of 37 micrograms per cubic meter exceeds the recommended standards, further emphasizing the urgency of action.

In response, Uganda has launched national air quality regulations and a city air quality action plan. These initiatives focus on reducing pollution through measures like waste reduction, increasing green spaces, dust reduction through road paving, and promoting sustainable mobility options.

Dr. Richard Walyomu from the KCCA Directorate of Public Health and Environment applauded the participants' active engagement and stressed the importance of public awareness in combating air pollution.

Dr. Alex Ndyabakira echoed the urgency of the situation, emphasizing that climate change is exacerbating global air quality challenges.

The collaborative efforts of projects like AirQo and the insights gained from monitoring sites are crucial in Kampala's ongoing battle against air pollution.


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