Kampala air pollution levels far exceed recommended levels

A man wearing a mask as a preventive measure against the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus walks in an empty taxi park in Kampala, Uganda, on March 26, 2020. PHOTO | BADRU KATUMBA | AFP
FILE PHOTO – Taxi vans wait for passengers on a road in Jinja, Uganda. /Bloomberg via Getty Images

The World Health Organisation says air pollution in Kampala, Uganda is five to seven times higher than recommended levels.

As a result, and in an action to mark air quality awareness week, the country’s National Management Environment Authority (NEMA), Kampala Capital City Authority and air quality research initiative AirQo, based at Makerere University, called for joint action to reduce air pollution.

(NEMA), the state-run environment watchdog said it is working on new regulations and standards aimed at reducing emissions.

“These standards will regulate emissions generated from vehicles, workplaces, industries, fugitive emissions, indoor air quality and the general ambient air quality,” said NEMA executive director, Akankwasa Barirega.

Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) officials say dust from unpaved roads, as well as the open burning of solid waste, are also responsible for the poor air quality.

To reduce the emissions, KCCA said it will be tarmacking more city roads, increasing the number of signaled junctions and traffic management innovations to streamline city traffic control. The city will also promote and implement green mobility alternatives including electric mobility, non-motorized transportation and mass-transit alternatives.

The public, according to KCCA, also has a role to play in reducing air pollution. The authority said individuals can walk or cycle as a way of reducing their carbon footprint. Individuals can also among others use alternative transportation (bus or carpool) to get to work.