Implementing organisation Makerere University    
Period of implementation 04/2021-03/2023
Digital tools Air pollution sensors, AI, online platform, mobile application
Country Uganda
Sector Environment
Budget 342.000 €
Contribution to SDGs sdg 3sdg 11sdg 13


What is the project aiming to achieve?

Kampala city and other urban environments in Uganda have no regular monitoring of environmental exposures leading to a scarcity of air quality data, both in quantity and quality. This leaves urban communities uninformed about their exposure and as a result, there is limited public awareness of the impact of pollution on health . Urban dwellers in informal settlements are most affected by environmental health risks because they have limited options for housing, energy sources and tend to be  concentrated nearby industries to access employment opportunities. Without data and evidence, it is not possible for them to engage and demand for action   from city duty bearers. Similarly, Kampala city duty bearers, private sector and the government lack accurate information on the environmental exposures to act. Traditional  urban sensing systems  tend to be expensive, complex  to setup and unsuitable for the African urban contexts.

The AirQo system provides timely and hyperlocal access to air quality information for urban dwellers and duty beaters in Kampala city allowing them to take actions that lead to improvement of air quality in their communities. The AirQo digital air quality platform leverages locally built low cost technologies and artificial intelligence approaches, to close the gaps in air quality information access and allow for active citizen engagement in air urban environmental issues.

Digital component

The project builds upon AirQo’s existing air quality monitoring system for Uganda. 80  locally  designed and built sensors are already deployed on motorcycle taxis and static locations in Kampala and other urban towns in Uganda collecting near-real time air pollution data. This network of sensors will be increased to 150 devices, including a coverage extension to Jinja and Fort Portal cities in addition to Kampala.

Each device is connected to the AirQo digital air quality platform and streams real-time air quality data into the platform for storage, further analysis and presentation. The project will develop a customised, easy access, multi-level digital air quality toolkit including app, website and dashboard. City authorities and policy makers will be provided with access to the platform to get a city overview of the air quality trends by division and community, allowing them to take decisions and implement actions to improve air quality specific to city divisions. Eventually, awareness campaigns about air pollution will be carried out at community level to sensitize vulnerable groups, and trainings will be conducted for education and health professionals.