Speaking to URN in an interview just after the institute launched results of a study which found very high levels of air pollution in Kampala and Jinja cities, Dr Rebecca Nantanda a researcher said exposure to toxic air leads to producing babies of low birth weight which can cause lifelong health harm to those affected.
Through mobile monitoring where researchers have placed devices on boda bodas around Kampala and Wakiso districts, Nantanda says they have found areas of Rubaga, Kawempe, Bweyogerere and Namugongo to have very bad quality of air, something that badly affects sensitive groups like children and the elderly of 70 years and above. She says Namugongo has had the worst measures among those areas.
Since WHO’s last 2005 global update, there has been a marked increase of evidence that shows how air pollution affects different aspects of health. For that reason, and after a systematic review of the accumulated evidence, WHO has adjusted almost all the AQGs levels downwards, warning that exceeding the new air quality guideline levels is associated with significant risks to health. At the same time, however, adhering to them could save millions of lives.
The Acting Traffic Police Director ,Lawrence Niwabiine, says that as police they are concerned and worried about the health of their manpower that execute their daily duties in an environment that exposes them to the polluted air.
A new study has linked outdoor air pollution to premature births especially in low incomes countries like Uganda. The study names Kampala among the top ten cities in Africa with high fine particulate matter microgens per cubic metre. The World Health Organisation ranks Uganda 13th out of 184 countries for highest number of babies born prematurely and 11th for number of deaths due to complications from preterm births.
The satellite imagery confirms that in total 2 billion children are exposed to outdoor air pollution, caused by factors such as vehicle emissions, heavy use of fossil fuels, dust and burning of waste, exceeds minimum air quality guidelines set by the World Health Organization.
Dr. Najib Lukooya, the KCCA Environment manager, says they came up with the Kampala Green Industry Campaign after realising their attempts to enforce compliance with the best industrial practices has not yielded sufficient results. He believes partnerships and compliance assistance can go a long way to encourage efficiency.