Researchers to help West African cities monitor air pollution

Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) and the University of York, have been awarded over £600,000 to help provide West African cities with air pollution monitoring technology.

The project, which has been funded by the U.K Global Challenges Research Fund, will create an online, open-source platform to share designs for low-cost air quality monitors.

Partners in West Africa will then be able to access technical information via the platform to help them to build their own monitoring units.

These units can then be installed at key locations to give accurate air quality readings in some of the region’s fastest expanding cities.

The project will be applied to the cities of Lomé in Togo, Abidjan in Cote d’Ivoire, and Kumasi in Ghana.

The project will apply the Long-range Energy Alternatives Planning Integrated Benefits Calculator tool (LEAP-IBC), which was developed by SEI to understand how emission reduction strategies in the cities can help reduce air pollution.

The project will also work to clarify how monitoring can be used in an integrated way to support and develop urban air quality policies.

Ghana.

Dr Chris Malley, a senior research fellow at SEI said: ‘The grant will help us to translate this sustainable low-cost technology from the labs to the streets of West Africa where it has the potential to make a major contribution to the growing health crisis caused by air pollution.’

Emissions from industry, cars and diesel-powered generators all contribute to air quality problems in West Africa.

According to the researchers, progress in tackling the problem has been hindered by a lack of reliable monitoring data.

Professor Lisa Emberson from the Environment and Geography department at the University of York has said: ‘This project will help to overcome the barriers by combining technical air pollution monitoring expertise with knowledge of urban air quality management, to target interventions to reduce pollution hotspots.’

Dr Johan Kylenstierna, SEI research leader added: ‘By combining the ability to monitor and model air pollution, cities will be provided with the necessary tools to support strategy development that will have large impacts on human health.’

‘This will be the first time that these cities will have access to these affordable tools and equipment that they can develop and maintain themselves.’

In related news, Google has released a new digital tool that will allow a selection of European cities to measure levels of air pollution.

Photo Credit – Pixabay