By Mubiru Ivan

The government of France has pledged to install smart solar lights with inbuilt air quality monitoring units on major Kampala streets.

The revelation was made by Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago, who is currently in Geneva, Switzerland for the First World Health Organisation Global Conference on air pollution and health.

The conference is held in collaboration with UN Environment, World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), the Secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (CCAC) the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), and The World Bank.

The conference responds to a World Health Assembly mandate to combat one of the world’s most significant causes of premature death, causing some 7 million deaths annually.

Posting on his Facebook wall, Lukwago said Kampala and Uganda as a whole still rely more on qualitative (odour and sight) than quantitative indicators to monitor and assess the ambient quality of the air.

“Kampala, and indeed the entire country, we’re still relying more on qualitative (odour and sight) than quantitative indicators to monitor and assess the ambient quality of our air!As a city we have only two privately owned monitoring stations at the US Embassy, which measures PM 2.5 hourly data and Makerere University School of Public Health, which is more of a research project,” he said.

Lukwago further noted that he has invited and implored UN partner states to work out a mechanism that will compel all state signatories to various international instruments to honour their commitment and obligation toward air pollution and health.

“For example Uganda and many African states have flagrantly reneged on their commitments under the Abuja Declaration of 2001 to commit at least 15 per cent of the budget to health (currently it stands at 9.3 per cent); The Paris Agreement on reduction of emissions; 2030 Development Agenda or Sustainable development goals,” he said.

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