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Air quality index: Nairobi residents to rate level of air pollution in real time

The Nairobi City County Government has taken a proactive stance on air pollution by passing a resolution to assess the quality of the air residents breathe and make the data available through an open data access portal.

This means that the county, under the leadership of Governor Johnson Sakaja, will soon procure an Air Quality Index (AQI) tool that will be used to indicate changes in the amount of pollution in the air. The instrument works like a thermometer.

The process of measuring air quality involves collecting data from monitoring stations strategically located in different areas.

According to the county, the establishment of the city’s air quality data management system with an open public data access portal alongside the air quality monitoring network will help reduce air pollution and protect public health, making it a pioneering initiative in the country and the region.

The initiative was successfully validated during a meeting called Breathe Nairobi, paving the way for its implementation in the county.

The Breathe Nairobi strategy sets out ambitious priorities for the Breathe Nairobi project and how it will be implemented.

The priority areas include equipping the city with its own air quality monitoring network and air quality management system, development and enactment of Nairobi air quality by-laws, capacity building training, procurement and deployment of a comprehensive AQI monitoring network and data using low-cost sensors, and research, among others.

According to the County Executive Committee (CEC) Member for Green Nairobi, Mr Ibrahim Auma, the negative impact of air pollution on health, environment, society and economy cannot be overemphasised, hence the need for a well-thought-out plan to tackle air pollution.

“The Breathe Nairobi initiative is a unique and timely project that positions the City County Government as a leader in its implementation. We believe this initiative will have a profound impact on improving the air quality in our city,” said Mr Auma.

The CEC added that the initiative underscores the county’s belief that putting Nairobi at the forefront of implementation is a more sustainable approach to tackling air pollution.

In addition, Mr Auma noted that the County is committed to working closely with the community and residents to improve air quality.

The introduction of air quality by-laws and a Cabinet-approved air quality plan will lay the foundation for sustainable air quality programmes.

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