UNEP, Kenya launches digital billboards to monitor urban air quality

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, September 8, 2021
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NAIROBI, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) -- The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) on Tuesday joined hands with Kenya's Ministry of Environment and Forestry to launch digital billboards and boost monitoring of air quality in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

Frank Turyatunga, regional coordinator, Division of Early Warning Assessment/Africa at UNEP said the installation of digital billboards in strategic locations around Nairobi will help raise awareness on the importance of clean air to residents.

"The digital billboards will provide real-time information and data on air quality in Nairobi, raise awareness on the linkage between improved quality of air that we breathe with human and planetary health," said Turyatunga.

Other organizations that supported the launch of digital billboards to promote air quality in Nairobi include east Africa's leading telecommunication firm Safaricom and IQAir, a Swiss-based air quality technology company.

The launch of digital infrastructure to monitor air quality in Nairobi coincided with the International Day for Clean Air and Blue Skies whose theme was "Healthy Air, Healthy Planet".

Chris Kiptoo, principal secretary in Kenya's Ministry of Environment and Forestry said the digital billboards will live stream air quality data to an estimated 4.7 million Nairobi residents, raise awareness on pollution threats and inform strategic responses.

According to Kiptoo, Kenya had enacted progressive legislation and policies besides investing in appropriate technologies to boost air quality amid threats linked to over-reliance on biomass among households and climate change.

He said the government had partnered with industry to address regulatory, capacity and financing gaps that had derailed the quest for improved air quality standards in the fast-growing urban centers.

Sean Khan, program manager, Global Environment Monitoring System for Air at UNEP said the launch of digital billboards to enhance monitoring of air quality was a milestone in Kenya's quest to reduce indoor and outdoor pollution that is to blame for a high burden of respiratory diseases.

Khan said the digital billboards will utilize Internet of Things (IOT) to relay air quality information and data on a real-time basis to smartphone users in Nairobi.

Stephen Chege, the Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at Safaricom said that strategic collaboration between government, industry, academia and civil society is required to boost air quality in Kenyan cities.

According to Chege, market-based interventions have proved effective in air pollution control besides hastening the realization of sustainability agenda for local communities. Enditem

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