Liquid Telecom partners with Code for Africa to map deadly air pollution in Kenya

14 December 2018

Computing

Liquid Telecom Kenya has partnered with non-profit civic technology network Code for Africa (CfA) to install air quality sensors at 3,000 sites across Kenya, following warnings that air pollution is killing more than 20,000 Kenyans a year.

The sensors will be installed in a phased rollout at Liquid Telecom Kenya’s towers country-wide and powered by the company’s new Internet of Things (IoT) Low Power Wide Area (Sigfox LPWAN) network.

The nationwide rollout follows a pilot exercise in Nairobi with 60 air sensors managed by CfA’s sensors.AFRICA. The pilot has confirmed widespread and dangerous air pollution in the city, supporting estimates from the Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD) that 20,739 Kenyans are dying each year from air pollution.

The expanded network of citizen science sensors will provide detailed neighbourhood measurements of airborne pollutants every 2 ½ minutes.

Such measurements represent a key tool in combatting pollution. According to results from the pilot sensors, even on a Sunday, when traffic and industrial activity levels are reduced, Nairobi’s air quality is averaging 45% to 65% above the minimum safe pollutant levels set by the World Health Organisation (WHO). WHO warns that prolonged exposure to pollution at these levels sharply reduces life span, causing health issues such as ischaemic heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and acute lower respiratory infections in children.

Across Kenya, the WHO reports that air pollution is ​the fifth largest cause of deaths and disability after alcohol. ​However, actual deaths may be higher still, with air pollution increasing the risks of multiple lifestyle diseases, from diabetes and strokes to cancers. Read more on TechMoran