New low-cost device to help prevent deaths from air pollution

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UNEP Executive Director, Achim Steiner and Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Prof. Judi Wakhungu launch the pilot air quality monitoring system. Photo: UNEP

A new device to measure air quality could potentially help avert deaths from air pollution, according to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

UNEP plans to make the blueprints publically available, allowing governments and organizations to manufacture it themselves.

The system will cost approximately 100 times less than existing solutions, according to the agency.

Siobhán Garside reports.

The head of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) unveiled the device in Nairobi on Monday.

Achim Steiner said air pollution causes roughly seven million deaths worldwide each year—more than half of them due to outdoor pollution and mostly in developing countries.

Tragically, he added, these deaths are preventable.

Systems that measure air quality currently cost between US$150,000 and US$200,000 to set up, according to the UN agency.

The UNEP model will cost around US$1,500 per unit.

It was designed for affordability throughout its lifecycle, which will be up to four years.

The pilot project is being conducted in cooperation with the Kenyan Environment Ministry and the Nairobi County.

Siobhán Garside , United Nations.

Duration: 45″

 

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