Nairobi County to Use Digital Billboards to Monitor Traffic, Pollution

Heavy traffic along Mombasa Road on Saturday, July 3, 2021.
Heavy traffic along Mombasa Road on Saturday, July 3, 2021.

Nairobi County government in conjunction with the United Nations (UN) have launched digital billboards that will monitor traffic and air pollution in the city.

The project dubbed Nairobi air quality awareness will use technology and colour schemes to portray real-time air pollution data.

Nairobi County Assistant Director of Environment, Lawrence Mwangi, stated that the county will use the technology to manage the traffic menace in the city.

“Real-time air quality monitoring will help us with the issuance of health advisories as well as for the formulation of smart traffic controls that minimize congestion,” Mwangi stated. 

A digital billboard mounted along Mbagathi way in Nairobi
A digital billboard mounted along Mbagathi way in Nairobi
Kenyan News Trends

Mwangi further stated that the initiative will improve the health of city residents.

“Dynamic advisories demonstrated through this collaboration will help people limit their exposure to harmful pollutants,” he added.

On his part, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director, Inger Andersen, stated that the initiative was necessitated by the air pollution menace which is caused by traffic. 

“Action on air pollution, which is responsible for millions of premature deaths a year is critical. Efforts should focus on high-risk communities, such as people living in informal urban settlements,” Andersen stated.

The billboards will live stream real-time air pollution data and change colour depending on the fumes in the air. 

“What we are doing is to translate this into a colour scheme, so if the colour is green, the air is acceptable. As the pollution grows because of traffic, those concentrations will increase and the colours on the billboards will change,” UNEP programme manager Sean Khan stated.

Khan added that the billboards will be beneficial to people suffering from respiratory diseases.

“Anything other than green and blue is not good for you. If it turns red and you suffer from asthma or any heart disease, you will feel it. You will then have to take steps to protect yourself,” Khan stated.

The programme has been piloted on major roads in the county such as Moi Avenue, University way, Mbagathi way and Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

The billboards were tested on September 7, as the world marked the International day for clean air and blue skies.

Traffic snarl-up at Globe City Roundabout in Nairobi County
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