Step by step towards clean air in Kenya

Kenya Training in Household Air Pollution and Monitoring

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Trainees on field trip in Nairobi, Kenya

Normally when packing for a trip to Kenya one can expect to make space for things like safari or hiking gear for the many beautiful wildlife reserves in the country, but not Ajay Pillarisetti from Berkeley Air Monitoring. On a trip to Nairobi last July, Mr. Pillarisetti packed his suitcase with state of the art state air quality monitoring devices. His mission? To help train Kenyan Ministry of Health staff to monitor and improve indoor air quality.  

The World Health Organization estimates that more than 4 million people die prematurely each year from ill-health caused by indoor (household) air pollution. Household air pollution is primarily caused by fuels that are burnt for cooking and lighting. In urban areas many residents of informal settlements have little access to electricity or liquefied petroleum gas and primarily use firewood, charcoal and kerosene for fuel.

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Ajay Pillarisetti, Berkeley Air Monitoring, training participants in air quality monitoring

The Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) and the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves worked with Kenya’s Ministry of Health to provide a three-day training workshop on household air pollution and related health exposure, and research methodologies for quantifying the health impacts from household energy use.

Alice Kaoudia, Climate and Clean Air Coalition Co-chair and Executive Secretary of the Ministry of Environment Kenya opened the workshop. She thanked the organizers for giving her the opportunity to return to the classroom and learn.   

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Alice Kaudia opens the training

The workshop was designed to train researchers and practitioners to assess personal household air pollution exposure by using monitoring devices and samplers. The workshop included one day of background and knowledge sharing, and two days of hands on practice using a variety of monitoring equipment including a field trip where participants practiced placing equipment in real-world settings.

By the end of the training, participants said they felt confident that they would be able design studies and operating procedures to measure household air pollution, and perform basic data visualization and analyses using online tools and software, including tools to estimate local household air pollution-related burden of disease. 

The Kenya Ministry of Health received all the equipment used during the workshop including: Particle and Temperature Sensors + (PATS+), Ultrasonic Personal Air Samplers (UPAS), 5-7 iButton data-logging thermometers, and corresponding data transfer and visualization software.

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Inspecting an air quality monitor

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