April 30 – May 4 is Air Quality Awareness Week. This year’s theme is Air Quality Where You Are. The goal is to promote events that increase air quality awareness and inspire people to take steps, no matter how small or large, to reduce their contribution to air pollution.
The U.S. State Department puts air quality monitors on some of the U.S. embassies and consulates around the world to provide information on the quality of air around the embassy. To learn about the air quality monitoring around the U.S. Embassy Kampala go to www.airnow.gov, select ‘Embassies and Consulate,’ and select Kampala.
Please note that a single air monitor at U.S. Embassy Kampala cannot perform #KampalaAirQuality analysis for all of Kampala – it only covers a small area in the section of Kampala near the embassy.
Quick Facts About the Air You Breathe Everyday
Some days, the air is clear and feels fresh and clean. Clean air is air that has no harmful levels of pollutants
(such as dirt and chemicals) in it. Clean air is good for people to breathe. However, on some days the air
can feel heavy and may smell. Sometimes, the air can even make your chest feel tight as you breathe, or
make you cough. When too much dirt or too many chemicals get into the air, the air is dirty, or polluted.
Polluted air is not good for people to breathe. Breathing polluted air increases the risk of deadly diseases
such as heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, and chronic bronchitis. Air pollution illnesses kill more people
than AIDS, TB and malaria combined.
MAJOR SOURCES OF AIR POLLUTION
• Burning domestic trash
• Cooking with biofuels such as wood, charcoal, and straws
• Exhaust fumes from vehicles
• Use of contaminated vehicle fuel
• Smokestacks from factories
THE ECONOMIC BENEFITS OF CLEAN AIR
• With clean air, people are less sick and more productive.
• Clean, healthy air attracts tourists, foreign students, investors and the more highly-skilled employees
needed to grow the economy and create jobs.
• Saves money through less expenditure on health such as hospital admissions
WAYS THAT YOU CAN REDUCE AIR POLLUTION
• Stop burning household trash. Breath ing in smoke from trash can cause headaches and respiratory
infections and increase the risk of heart and lung disease. Trash smoke pollutes the air and affects
many people far away from the burn site.
• Use improved cook stoves and reduce indoor cooking with biofuels such as wood and charcoal.
• Test and service your vehicles regularly. Use authentic quality fuels only.
• Ensure that your trash is properly separated in different bags marked bio-waste, plastics, or glass, and
that the trash is ready for recycling and management at
• Do not unnecessarily idle your car engine – 10 seconds of idling wastes more fuel than restarting and
produces unnecessary exhaust fumes that harm people around you.
• Use a mask while traveling in areas with unpaved dusty roads.
• Plant trees around your homes.
Partly adapted from www.airnow.gov | Additional notes from Kampala City Council Authority and Makerere University School of Public Health