JINJA: MONDAY, AUGUST 30, 2021
The Jinja City Council has installed over 20 air quality monitoring machines within the communities.
This is to determine if the quality of the air in the City is pure or contaminated as a result of industrial wastes population among other human activities.
The air quality monitoring machines were developed by AirQo, a research project in Makerere University Faculty of Computing and Information Sciences software systems center funded by Belgium Wehubit Programme.
The monitoring machines have already been installed in some parts of the country including in Kampala and would be rolled out to schools and areas of interest where human activities affecting air are not observed.
Maclina Birungi, the marketing and communications head of AirQo from Makerere University said that air pollution topic has been of interest because we cannot see the air we are breathing but we only smell it when it is polluted.
Birungi said air pollution is one of the silent killer diseases globally and it contributes to over 7 million premature deaths annually.
She said in Uganda, the ambient air quality levels monitored in urban centres are estimated to be over 5 times more polluted than what the World Health Organisation recommends, with 30,000 people dying annually due to air pollution-related illnesses.
“We thank the government for continuing to support our initiatives, however, we urge the government to support successful implementation of policies within the transport sector, urban planning and industrial waste management to reduce air pollution and improve health,” Birungi said.
Jinja City Council senior natural resource officer and environment officer, Ernest Nabihamba said Jinja is one of the cities affected by air pollution due to the numerous factories that have not to date taken control of their waste products that are openly released into the air.
“To have quality air for breathing our roads need to be tarmacked to reduce on the dust, strict laws to factory owners on emission of smoke and waste management should be implemented for the people to breathe clean air,” Nabihamba said.
Peter Kasolo Okocha, the Jinja City Mayor indicated that the city council will develop policies that will improve the quality of air in the city depending on the data collected from the AirQo monitoring machines.
According to Warren Wabulembo, the superintendent Bulange Health Centre III in Namutumba district, related diseases due to contaminated air are ischemic heart disease, chronic pulmonary disease like bronchitis and emphysema, lung cancer, lower respiratory tract infection in children and pneumonia among others.