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Household Air Pollution: Sources and Exposure Levels to Fine Particulate Matter in Nairobi Slums
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
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2016 (English)In: TOXICS, ISSN 2305-6304, Vol. 4, no 3, 12Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

With 2.8 billion biomass users globally, household air pollution remains a public health threat in many low- and middle-income countries. However, little evidence on pollution levels and health effects exists in low-income settings, especially slums. This study assesses the levels and sources of household air pollution in the urban slums of Nairobi. This cross-sectional study was embedded in a prospective cohort of pregnant women living in two slum areasKorogocho and Viwandaniin Nairobi. Data on fuel and stove types and ventilation use come from 1058 households, while air quality data based on the particulate matters (PM2.5) level were collected in a sub-sample of 72 households using the DustTrak II Model 8532 monitor. We measured PM2.5 levels mainly during daytime and using sources of indoor air pollutions. The majority of the households used kerosene (69.7%) as a cooking fuel. In households where air quality was monitored, the mean PM2.5 levels were high and varied widely, especially during the evenings (124.6 mu g/m(3) SD: 372.7 in Korogocho and 82.2 mu g/m(3) SD: 249.9 in Viwandani), and in households using charcoal (126.5 mu g/m(3) SD: 434.7 in Korogocho and 75.7 mu g/m(3) SD: 323.0 in Viwandani). Overall, the mean PM2.5 levels measured within homes at both sites (Korogocho = 108.9 mu g/m(3) SD: 371.2; Viwandani = 59.3 mu g/m(3) SD: 234.1) were high. Residents of the two slums are exposed to high levels of PM2.5 in their homes. We recommend interventions, especially those focusing on clean cookstoves and lighting fuels to mitigate indoor levels of fine particles.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 4, no 3, 12
Keyword [en]
household air pollution, cookstoves, PM2.5, slums, Nairobi
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology Environmental Health and Occupational Health
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-127636DOI: 10.3390/toxics4030012ISI: 000385516600001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-127636DiVA: diva2:1049039
Available from: 2016-11-23 Created: 2016-11-16 Last updated: 2017-08-17Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Air pollution in Nairobi slums: sources, levels and lay perceptions
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Air pollution in Nairobi slums: sources, levels and lay perceptions
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Background

Air quality in Africa has remained a relatively under-researched field.Most of the African population is dependent on biomass for cooking and heating,with most of the combustion happening in low efficiency stoves in unventedkitchens. The resulting high emissions are compounded by ingress from pooroutdoor air in a context of poor emissions controls. The situation is dire in slumhouseholds where homes are crowded and space is limited, pushing householdsto cook in the same room that is used for sleeping. This study assessed the levelsof particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter ≤ 2.5 microns (PM2.5) in slumhouseholds and people’s perceptions of and attitudes towards air pollution andhealth risks of exposure in two slum areas, Viwandani and Korogocho, in theNairobi city.

Methods

The study employed both qualitative and quantitative methods. For thequantitative study, we used structured questionnaires to collect data about thesource of air pollution among adults aged 18 years and above and pregnant womenresiding in the two study communities. We used the DustTrak™ air samplers tomonitor the indoor PM2.5 levels in selected households. We also collected data oncommunity perceptions on air pollution, annoyance and associated health risks.We presented hotspot maps to portray the spatial distribution of perceptions onair pollution in the study areas. For the qualitative study, we conducted focusgroup discussions with adult community members. Groups were disaggregatedby age to account for different languages used to communicate with the youngerand older people. We analysed the qualitative data using thematic analysis.

Results

Household levels of PM2.5 varied widely across households and rangedfrom 1 to 12,369μg/m3 (SD=287.11). The household levels of PM2.5 levels werelikely to exceed the WHO guidelines given the high levels observed in less than 24hours of monitoring periods (on average 10.4 hours in Viwandani and 11.8 hoursin Korogocho). Most of the respondents did not use ventilation use in the eveningwhich coincided with the use of cookstove and lamp, mostly burning kerosene.The levels of PM2.5 varied by the type of fuels, with the highest emissions inhouseholds using kerosene for cooking and lighting. The PM2.5 levels spiked in theevenings and during periods of cooking using charcoal/wood. Despite these highlevels, residents perceived indoor air to be less polluted compared with theoutdoor air, possibly due to the presence of large sources of emissions near thecommunities such as dumpsites and industries. The community had mixedperceptions on the health impacts of air pollution, with respiratory illnessesperceived as the main consequence while vector or sanitation related diseases suchas diarrhoea was also perceived to be related to air pollution.

Conclusions

With poor housing and reliance on dirty fuels, households in slumsface potentially high levels of exposure to PM2.5 with dire implications on health.To address the poor perception on air pollution and knowledge gaps on the healtheffects of air pollution, education programs need to be developed and tailored.These programs should aim to provide residents with information on air qualityand its impact on the health; what they can do as communities as well as empowerthem to reach out to government/stakeholders for action on outdoor sources ofpollution such as emissions from dumpsites or industries. The government has alarger role in addressing some of the key pollution sources through policyformulation and strong implementation/enforcement.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå University, 2017. 68 p.
Series
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1903
Keyword
Air pollution, perceptions, slums, health impacts, Nairobi
National Category
Health Sciences
Research subject
Epidemiology; Public health
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-138293 (URN)978-91-7601-739-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-09-01, Sal 135, byggnad 9 A, Allmänmedicin, Norrlands universitetssjukhus, Umeå, 09:00 (English)
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Supervisors
Available from: 2017-08-18 Created: 2017-08-17 Last updated: 2017-08-18Bibliographically approved

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