NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 7 – Safaricom has partnered with United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to monitor and provide real-time air pollution in Nairobi in a bid to increase air quality awareness among residents.
The initiative which was also done in collaboration with IQAir, a quality technology company will provide real-time air quality information for some of the most harmful types of air pollution known as PM2.5.
The pilot program will stream the air pollution information to digital billboards located in Moi Avenue, University Way, Mbagathi Way, and Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
The partnership also involved Alpha and Jam Ltd, Metropolitan Star Lite Ltd, and Out Of Home (OOH) media.
“PM2.5 causes serious health issues, including asthma, lung cancer, and heart disease. Exposure to PM2.5 has also been associated with low birth weight, increased acute respiratory infections, and stroke,” a statement issued read in part.
Safaricom CEO, Peter Ndegwa said the firm will use its digital platforms and expansive network infrastructure to support the air quality monitoring project to expand across more urban areas in Kenya.
“This partnership lies very much at the heart of our sustainability agenda that seeks to address environmental issues such as air pollution which remains a major challenge, especially in urban centers,” he said.
Ndegwa said the firm will also ‘forge partnerships with regulators, relevant ministries, and private organizations to help build a compressive and sustainable air quality monitoring system in the long run. ‘
Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP reiterated the need for action on air pollution noting that all efforts should be directed towards high-risk communities, such as people living in informal urban settlements.
“Innovations to reach and engage the local community and decision-makers alike, can only elevate the understanding of the impacts of air quality and help create an enabling environment to improve human and ecosystem health,” Andersen said.
“Real-time air quality monitoring will help us with the issuance of health advisories as well as for the formulation of smart traffic controls that minimize congestion,” Lawrence Mwangi, Assistant Director of Environment in charge of pollution control at the Nairobi County Government added.