Past Event

Air pollution in Nairobi and other emerging African megacities: sources, sampling, and solutions

February 23, 2021
5:00 PM - 6:30 PM
Online Event Nairobi.

Air pollution causes millions of premature deaths and a host of illnesses in the world’s cities each year. This is especially true in sub-Saharan Africa, where sparse air pollution monitoring imparts high uncertainty to estimates of exposure and impact. Five hundred million African children live in areas with no reliable air quality monitoring. This second session in our healthy cities webinar series will discuss some emerging efforts to rectify this large air pollution data gap using surface monitoring, remote sensing, and air quality modeling, with a focus on Nairobi. Speakers will also discuss solutions and pathways forward for reducing the health burden from air pollution in Africa.

Moderator Bio

Dr. Daniel

Dr. Daniel M. Westervelt is currently an Associate Research Scientist at Columbia University’s Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, NY. In addition, he is a Columbia University Climate and Life Fellow leading a project on air pollution and climate change in Africa. he is also an affiliated scientist with the NASA Goddard Institute of Space Studies in New York, NY, and an air pollution advisor to the US State Department.

Prior to Lamont, Dr. Daniel M. Westervelt worked as a Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy (STEP) postdoctoral research associate at Princeton University.

Panelist Bio

Dr. Godwin Opinde

Dr. Godwin Opinde Holds a PhD in Environmental Planning and Management. His research interests are air quality management, Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation, Waste Management, Transport Planning & Environmental Governance. He is currently partnering with colleagues from Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory of the Earth Institute, Columbia University, in air quality Monitoring projects in the East Africa Region. Dr Opinde is a Lecturer at the Department of Environmental Planning & Management, Kenyatta University where he lectures courses in his area of research interest. He is also the Chair of Environmental Compliance Institute, A non-governmental organization that is involved in air quality management projects/ programs in the East African region in partnership with UN Environment, National Authorities, Local Authorities and other Non-governmental Organizations with common interest.

priyanka desouza

Priyanka deSouza is a PhD candidate at the Department of Urban Studies and Planning working on air pollution. She has a Bachelor and Master of Technology in Energy Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (2013), an MSc in Environmental Change and Management (2014), and an MBA (2015) from the University of Oxford where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar. In  2015-2016, she worked at UNEP where she was responsible for deploying a low-cost air quality monitoring network in Nairobi.

Prof. Michael J. Gatari (PhD)

Prof. Michael J. Gatari has a Ph.D. in Environmental Science with a specialization in Physics, a Diploma from European Research Course on Atmospheres, and a licentiate in Environmental Physics. He is an Associate Professor in Applications of Nuclear Science Techniques, and teaches/lectures and supervises students undertaking master of Science in Nuclear Science and technology, multidiscipline graduate program. He is a member of Association for Aerosol Research (GAeF), the American Association for Aerosol Research (AAAR), European Physical Society (EPS), European X-Ray Spectroscopy (EXRS), and the Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) Society in Kenya. His is widely experienced in aerosol science technology and measurement, and has attended over 15 related pre-conference tutorials. He chaired the working group that drafted the ABC-Africa whitepaper and was appointed a co-chairman of ABC-Africa by the UNEP ABC Science Committee. The bulk of his research activities involves air quality/aerosol studies, mainly in Kenya.

Dr. Darby Jack

Darby Jack, Ph.D., studies environmental health risks in developing countries, the health impacts of climate change, and the role of the urban environment in shaping health. He is in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences. For the last several years his primary focus has been the health effects of exposure to indoor air pollution from biomass fuels. With support from the Center for Environmental Health in Northern Manhattan, he has helped to develop a Columbia-wide biomass working group, which coordinates and supports interdisciplinary research on the topic. These collaborations have given rise to current efforts to measure the health benefits of clean cookstoves in Ghana. In New York, he is collaborating with exposure scientists to estimate the effects of air pollution exposures on people who commute by bicycle.