The Lord Mayor of Kampala Erias Lukwago yesterday returned from Geneva, Switzerland where he was hosted as one of the key Speakers at the First World Health Organization Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health.
His presentation focused mainly on tackling air pollution in cities and improving health and climate.
He noted that Kampala and the entire country, is still relying more on qualitative than quantitative indicators to monitor and asses the ambient quality of air.
“As a city we have only two privately owned monitoring stations at the US Embassy, which measures PM 2.5 hourly data and at Makerere University School of Public Health, which is more of a research project.”
Lukwago also said the French Government has offered to support the installation of Smart Solar lights on “our major Streets”, with inbuilt air quality monitoring units.
The mayor also highlighted the salient areas of the Kampala Climate Change Action Strategy which was designed in 2016 under the aegis of the Covenant for Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa, with the assistance of the European Union, French Development Agency, among others.
The Action plan lays out a road map to Kampala’s sustainability goals with the key object of reducing the city’s emissions, enhancing resilience to climate change impacts and creating opportunities in the green/circular economy.
He also pointed out that the dire state of the ambient air quality in the city is exacerbated by excessive use of biomass for cooking and lighting as opposed to renewable energy, highly motorized mobility leading to excessive emissions, poor waste disposal practices, including open incineration and burning of refuse, little green cover with limited capacity to absorb the carbon emissions generated.
He also implored the UN partner states to work out a mechanism that will compel all States signatories to various international instruments to honor their commitments and obligations.
“Uganda and many other African states have flagrantly reneged on their commitments under the Abuja Declaration of 2001 to commit at least 15% of their budget to health( currently it stands at 9.3%); The Paris Agreement on reduction of emissions; 2030 Development Agenda or Sustainable development goals.”
The event was co-sponsored by the UN Environment, World Meteorological Organization, the UN Framework Convention on Climate change, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe and World Bank under the theme: “Improving Air Quality, Combating Climate change and Saving lives.”