Nairobi suffers from similar problems to other growing African megacities, many of which are experiencing increasing levels of dangerous air pollution. A growing population and surging numbers of cars on the roads across the continent are prominent contributors to pollution. Other key factors contributing to the problem include:
- Old, inefficient vehicles imported from Europe and Japan, with catalytic converters removed
- Commonplace outdoor burning of rubbish (including plastics)
- Cooking with inefficient solid fuel stoves
- Millions of small diesel electricity generators
- Petrochemical plants
Suggestions for short-term improvements include tighter regulations on the age of imported vehicles, to create a more modern and cleaner fleet in African cities. Additionally, the promotion of electric bikes, such as successfully encouraged by China, is suggested as an effective way of cleaning up popular transport methods.
Additionally, more regular and widespread monitoring of air quality across the continent would be critical in facilitating targeted action against the pollutants causing most harm.
Read the full report on Kenya’s air pollution crisis here.