Air quality sensors stationed in 27 different parts of Nairobi have shown that the air quality is below the global standards. This has largely been attributed to the high number of PSVs, growing number of industries and poor implementation of environmental laws

New data on the quality of air around Nairobi shows that the city is exceeding the World Health Organisation’s recommended levels by seven times.

The statistics from sensors.AFRICA show that the air pollution level in Nairobi stands at 17pg/m3 which is 70 per cent above the World Health Organisation’s safe level.

The global recommended level of pollutants in the air is 10 µg/m3 which measures the number of floating particles in a given cubic metre. 

Public Service Vehicles, industries and factories are the leading cause of air pollution in Nairobi, according to sensors.AFRICA shows a pan-African citizen science initiative that uses sensors to monitor air, water and sound pollution.

This information is used to give citizens actionable information about their cities and how it affects their day to day activities.

According to the data, some parts of Mlolongo, Athi River, Syokimau and Mukuru slums have high air pollution.

This can be attributed to their proximity to industries and factories.

On the other hand, the data showed that Kilimani, Muthaiga, Ruaka and Avenue estate in Kitengela were some of the least polluted areas.

Experts have argued that the low air pollution was likely a result of the dominance of residential buildings.

Harrison Kamau, an environmentalist opines that high-end areas are likely to have lesser air pollution than informal and densely populated areas.

“Informal areas have more PSVs because the population consists of low-income earners,” he said.

Then added, “We know of instances where traffic police collect bribes from unroadworthy vehicles which are key air pollutants”.

Low air quality has been associated with areas with reduced forest cover, showing the impact of deforestation in certain locales of the city.

Air pollution accounts for over 19,000 deaths annually in Kenya out of which over 6,600 are minors.

It is also the leading cause of acute lower respiratory infection.

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