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Air pollution in Kenya: a review

Abstract

Rapid urbanization, the corresponding increase in vehicle ownership, and the continued use of solid fuels as an energy source have resulted in the deterioration of air quality in Kenya. Despite this, there is no publicly available official source of data on air pollution in the country. This article provides an overview of published studies that report the concentrations of widespread ambient pollutants, outline major themes, and identify data gaps. This review reveals that since the 1980’s particulate matter (PM) concentrations in some Nairobi locations, such as the industrial area, have been at dangerously high levels. Almost all of the studies included show that PM concentrations in Nairobi violate the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines. Moreover, black carbon (BC) concentrations in Nairobi are among the highest in the world, indicating the need for cleaner vehicles in the city. There has been much less work done measuring the levels of gaseous pollutant concentrations in Kenya. Based on these findings, policies to reduce air pollution in Kenya and monitoring strategies to fill in the existing gaps are presented.

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    Data is available from: http://senseable.mit.edu/cleanair-nairobi/

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Acknowledgments

The author is grateful to R. Kahn, P. Kinney, and J. Klopp for comments.

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Correspondence to Priyanka deSouza.

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deSouza, P. Air pollution in Kenya: a review. Air Qual Atmos Health 13, 1487–1495 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11869-020-00902-x

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Keywords

  • Ambient air quality
  • Kenya
  • Measurements
  • Criteria pollutants
  • Review