Nairobi’s Vehicle Pollution and the Lack of Public Transportation
Kenya, like many other developing countries in Africa, is experiencing a rapid growth of urbanization. Many cities and towns have grown in population size and have also expanded spatially to form huge metropolitan regions. The rapid urbanization also generates a lot of economic and environmental problems and challenges. Nairobi is one such metropolitan region that follows this trend in Kenya. With the demand for cars in Kenya rising every day, so is the level of air pollution. Vehicles contribute to this evil at a very high level. But there are ways of helping reduce the amount of pollution caused by car emissions. The gases expelled from petrol engine cars contain carbon monoxide and oxides of nitrogen. These gases work together in creating power to run cars; the unused gases are expelled through the exhaust pipe, causing car pollution. These gases threaten the depletion of the ozone layer and also harm the entire ecosystem. Pollution levels need to be controlled in the city of Nairobi. In developed countries, more cities are investing in infrastructure and better transportation systems to reduce vehicle pollution. Though Kenya has yet to reach that level of development, there are actions Kenya can take to invest in reducing levels of pollution in the environment to fight against this evil. Car traffic is a major source of particulate pollution in Nairobi, where rapid growth, joined with the lack of effective transport, may result in harmful levels of fine particles in the air. However, if there are current boosts in the development of transportation infrastructure in Nairobi, amounts of vehicles on the road could be reduced, while also reducing emissions therefore removing environmental and various health hazards. Throughout Nairobi, motor vehicles are constantly using the road and are most of the time blocking it. This car congestion results in one of the main sources of atmospheric pollution. The increasing number of cars in the city intensifies traffic and pollution problems. Vehicles emit significant levels of air pollutants, including greenhouse gases and the precursors of smog. Air pollution adversely affects human health and the environment. Particulates are associated with respiratory and eye diseases such as asthma, lung cancer, and conjunctivitis, especially in the young and elderly who are more vulnerable. Air pollution is also a major contributor to effects such as acid rain, which is known to damage soil, fish resources, and vegetation, often very far from the emission sources (Mulaku and Kariuki). Nairobi’s toleration of these negative effects from urban air pollution needs to change. This transformation should come from authoritative power and trickle downwards to the people through policies or investments from the government. Poor air quality can easily alter the health of a population while also damaging the environment in which it resides. Air quality is commonly assessed in terms of concentrations of seven air pollutants. These are carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, particulate matter, and sulfur dioxide. All these pollutants are referred to as criteria pollutants since they are common, injurious to human health and cause harm to the environment. They can cause acute respiratory diseases and impair breathing. The smaller particles are able to penetrate deeper into the lungs. Urban air particles mainly exist in fugitive dust and exhaust emissions, which include primary carbon particles, and secondary sulfate and nitrate particles (Nairobi and it Environment). Nitric and sulfuric acid in the atmosphere causes disastrous damage to our environment while ozone destroys vegetation. Carbon monoxide is a precursor of carbon dioxide, which is a major greenhouse with serious implications in global warming. Climate change impacts have serious indirect impacts on human health and the total global habitat. Traffic emissions have both...
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