Air pollution is the contamination of air by gasses and solid particles, pollutants are visible by the naked eye in conditions where there are vehicle and factory emissions, dust storms, kerosene lamps, and many others.
According to studies by (WHO), the levels of air pollution are higher in developing countries than it is in the already developed countries, that’s to say the levels of particulate matter are reportedly 4-5 times higher in Africa, Asia, and Latin America than it is in Europe. The 2018 WHO air quality database report, 97% of the cities in low-income countries don’t meet the WHO air quality guidelines Uganda inclusive.
In Uganda, the main sources of air pollution include emissions from vehicles, biomass fuel use, industries, burning of wastes and unpaved dusty road are all major sources of pollution. The mining and quarrying sector is also increasingly becoming another pollutant of air.
According to a report, from the Uganda Bureau of statics (UBOS), there was a significant increase in licensed vehicles for public use which rose to 95%. With the many imported vehicles that flock into the country, the levels of air pollution are likely to increase to 90% if no action is taken to address this issue. The type of fuels used in the vehicles influences a lot to the emission of gasses that are released to the environment such include Sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide.
Furthermore, industries and furnaces emit fumes that are got from the heavy machinery used and the technology used, however other household activities like charcoal burning and burning waste materials can be another concern for air pollution.
According to the air visual’s 2018 air quality report, Uganda’s air quality was two times higher than the recommended levels by the world health organization.
Air pollution facts globally
- 9 out of 10 people worldwide live in places where the air quality is above the world health organizations (WHO) guidelines.
- Air pollution costs the global economy 5trillion every year in welfare costs.
- Ground level ozone pollution is expected to reduce staple crop yields by 26% in 2030.
Risks of air pollution
Air pollution is one of the leading global public health risks that are endangering the human species slowly
The risks of air pollution are dependent upon the concentration of the pollutants in the air and the amount of time the person spends within a polluted area.
In Uganda, most people get affected by pollution during the heavy traffic and urban areas where they are at risk of being exposed to fumes from the machinery and vehicles.
According to a report to the world health organization, estimates of 4.2 million people do die every year due to exposure to ambient air pollution.
The report also includes that most pregnant women in Uganda are at high risk of exposure to pollution, the unborn babies and infants are always on the risk of getting impacts of chronic and acute respiratory diseases, cancers and heart diseases which a less observed within time.
Diseases such as asthma, lung cancer, tuberculosis, eye cataracts are some of the diseases that have been linked to air pollution by WHO.
How to fight air pollution
However, it might take longer to fight air pollution but a journey of thousand miles starts with one step and so we have to find the solution to this lasting problem that might leave the coming generation in ruins.
What has to be done is starting with society by taking a step in the prevention of the hazard and creating awareness through continuous mass sensitization of the public.
The vehicle users must take care of their vehicles so that they don’t emit bad and harmful fumes that come out the cars not to get into the atmosphere.
There has to be a provision of alternative source of energy like solar energy, hydroelectric energy and windy, this reduces the cutting down of the trees that are burnt down for firewood and charcoal that are burnt as a form of fuel.
Recycling is another alternative that can be used to reduce air pollution, which has two ways of preventing pollution, in a way that it saves energy which is required for burning, it also reduces and minimizes the pollutants released during manufacturing.
At the beginning of this month on 5th the ministry of water and environment, NEMA celebrated the world environment day in Moroto district with theme fight air pollution to protect human health and environment.