The Deputy Director Mr. Collins Ondago, Madam Mary Kerich the COD public Health and other staff members earlier today had a meeting with Prof. Daniel Westervelt, a research scientist at Columbia University-based Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. The purpose of the meeting was to collaborate with the campus to set up an air pollution monitoring network device.
Air pollution being a serious health risk for residents living in urban and industrial areas that are highly saturated with pollutants, Prof. Westervelt has set his sight on addressing the air-pollution data gap by setting up an air pollution-monitoring network for three mega cities in Sub-Saharan Africa: Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Kampala, Uganda; Nairobi, and Mombasa Kenya. The process of installing air quality monitoring equipment at JKUAT and other institutions in Kenya is already underway, in Mombasa so far 4 devices have been mounted In Bamburi around Bamburi Cement area, UON, and City Mall with one Device now Mounted at JKUAT Mombasa Campus.Madam Kerich pointed out the need for more devices to be mounted around areas that have factories like the EPZ, Mabati along Changamwe to get a data set that is of a true representation of the air pollution problem.
The availability of little data, especially, in Sub-Saharan Africa on air pollution has made it difficult to determine the extent of air pollution and develop informed policies geared towards protecting human health.
“Until you actually have the data, you can’t quantify the problem and you can’t manage the problem. The only way to figure out solutions is to know what you’re dealing with,” said Prof. Westervelt.
Prof. Westervelt added that data decoded from air pollution sensors can be used for policy recommendations and health studies. Despite the challenges, his ultimate goal is getting useful, actionable data out of low-cost sensors.
Prof. Westervelt had earlier made a presentation on “Closing the Air Pollution Data Gap in Sub-Saharan Africa” during a webinar hosted by Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) on Thursday, July 1, 2021. Present during the webinar was the Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of Research, Production, and Extension, Prof. Mary Abukutsa and Director, Research and Innovations, Dr. John Kinyuru.
Earlier, Prof. Westervelt had paid a courtesy call on the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi where both discussed collaboration opportunities in curriculum development in air quality monitoring and staff and students’ exchange between JKUAT and Columbia University.