Air Pollution: Kampala

Presented by Mike Smith, University of Sheffield @mikethomassmith

Why does it matter?

In 2012, 2.6 million people died due to outdoor air pollution (mostly heart disease or stroke).

Summary: Air pollution is a big deal.

Note: We'll focus on PM2.5.


WHO press release 2014:

How bad is it?

Only two papers about Kampala's air quality (Stephan Schwander's group), and a new sensor at the US embassy.

(white board)

Project development

Began with trying the Shinyei sensor hooked up to a phone (2014).

Bodaboda deployment

Engineer Bainomugisha new PI. Ssematimba Joel hardware dev.
We recently switched to a better sensor from AlphaSense.

From left to right: Ssekanjako John, the bodaboda driver; me; Engineer Bainomugisha.

Static site deployment

Static site deployment

Project development

unobtrusive hardware...

Example data stream

Combining Sensors

Using a GP model, with inputs:

  • latitude, longitude and time
  • time-of-day
  • distance from large roads (data from OSM)

Multiple output GPs: Make each sensor type one output


Future ideas

  • Calibration with high quality measurements
  • Tidy plans and provide the design to make into kit
  • Use active learning to select location for bodaboda to visit
  • Look at sources of pollution to try to start assigning causality
  • Apply differential privacy to ensure boda location remains private
  • Correlate with hospital admissions?


  • Awareness raising - leads to civic response?
  • If we get causation - we'll know what to target.
  • Baseline necessary for mitigation to be assessed.
  • KCCA planning non-motorised area in Old Kampala!


Funders: DIL Berkeley award.

Engineer and Joel

and Pius Kavuma at the AI Lab (3d printer!)


Schwander, Stephan, et al. "Ambient particulate matter air pollution in Mpererwe District, Kampala, Uganda: a pilot study." Journal of environmental and public health 2014 (2014).

Kirenga, Bruce J., et al. "The state of ambient air quality in Two Ugandan cities: a pilot cross-sectional spatial assessment." International journal of environmental research and public health 12.7 (2015): 8075-8091.