One of the recent conversations that has been a buzz word in recent days has been that of new and emerging technologies. This includes Internet of Things (IOT).
Over the past few months, Code for Africa has been running the sensors.AFRICA project to collect data on air pollution across the continent, with 22 low-cost air quality sensors collecting data that can be used by the media, citizens, civic watchdogs and governments to push for regulations that will ensure cleaner air, and for people living in polluted environments to take action to protect themselves.
According to CfA here, The sensors measure levels of particulate matter and pollutants such as carbon monoxide and nitrous oxides. Air passes through an inlet and then through the detection area before being ejected from the sensor through the inbuilt fan. The particles pass a laser, scattering the light and transforming it into electrical signals. These signals show the number and diameter of the particles contained in the air sample.
The sensor has a response time of 10 seconds, making data collected near real time.
During this period of time, we have seen resident associations come together to protest the inaction of environmental regulatory authorities to curb express pollutant activities. This past week residents of Syokimau sought to engage the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) to discuss the possible pollution caused by an industry located in the area.
With such information available for the use of communities such as these and for similar scenarios, CfA is proactively using technology for the good of the masses. The Kenyan Constitution provides that every person has the right to a clean and healthy environment, which includes the right to have the environment protected for the benefit of present and future generations.
Using technology to back and inform decisions by providing accurate and reliable information is highly commendable.
sensors.AFRICA is a transnational pan-African network of citizen sensor projects backed by Code for Africa, with air quality sensors in 4 countries: Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Tanzania, located in Nairobi, Lagos, Cape Town, Durban and Dar es Salaam. The data is aggregated and displayed on a live map, and the data is available in an online archive. If you interested in working with sensors.AFRICA or using their data, you may reach them vide this form.
Code for Africa is Africa’s largest data journalism and civic technology initiative, operating CitizenLabs across the continent to help fast-track digital experimentation and transformation in newsrooms and other social justice organisations.
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