Air-pollution trackers seek to fill Africa’s data gap
Low-income sub-Saharan countries bear a high burden of air pollution, but are nearly unrepresented in the research on its health impacts.
At ten elementary schools on the outskirts of Kampala, the capital city of Uganda, newly installed air-quality monitors are quietly collecting data on the level of particulate matter in the atmosphere. The schools are part of a project launched in February to study how air pollution affects children’s health, in an effort to address a major public-health gap in sub-Saharan Africa. Globally, air pollution causes more deaths than any other environmental hazard. But there are little data on its health effects in sub-Saharan Africa. And it’s hard to draw any lessons from similar studies in Europe or North America, because much of the air pollution in sub-Saharan Africa comes from a different source — indoor stoves that burn biomass such as charcoal and firewood.
By Nicole Wetsman, Nature News