Rapid economic development, combined with poor regulatory controls has meant many cities in developing countries, have almost continuous levels of dangerous air pollution, contributing to over three million deaths annually worldwide. However, there is no regular monitoring of the pollution, or research into its spatial distribution. The WHO notes a severe shortage of data on air pollution in low and middle-income countries. This leaves citizens uninformed about their exposure, yet outdoor air pollution is linked to over three million premature deaths every year worldwide, mostly in low-income countries. Understanding the scale of air pollution, its spatial and temporal distribution and sources is vital if we are to motivate the changes required to reduce it. Unfortunately air pollution monitoring currently requires very expensive and complex devices, impractical in a low-income country.
The ambition of this project is to develop and deploy a network of low-cost air quality sensing devices mounted on boda-bodas (motorcycle taxis) to produce a detailed and near real-time map of air pollution. This will provide insights into the sources and scale of air pollution in Kampala, Uganda. The system’s low cost will ensure a long-term sustainable deployment, with data provided to the population through mobile phones, websites and social media.
Associate Professor Engineer Bainomugisha, Computer Science, Makerere University