Contaminación del Aire en Kampala, Uganda

Si no se toma ninguna acción concreta, la capital de la Perla de África se volverá inutilizable en unas décadas.
Uganda, Eastern Africa

Story by Anna Adima. Translated by Leonardo Ismael Pérez Correa
Published on May 2, 2020.

This story is also available in GB de it tr



Al igual que la mayoría de las personas que viven y se mueven a través de mi ciudad natal de Kampala, Uganda (donde actualmente me baso para mi proyecto de Doctorado), diariamente respiro más que mi cuota asignada de contaminación de aire, la cual en mi ciudad está compuesta de polvo, gases de los exhostos de los autos, y humo industrial.

Kampala es la capital de Uganda, y con su crecimiento anual del 4.03% y una población de 1.6 millones, es una de las ciudades que más rápidamente crece a nivel mundial. La combinación del crecimiento de la industria y la urbanización está acompañada de un incremento en el número de vehículos: aproximadamente 50,000 – que incluyen autos, autobuses, camiones, y motocicletas-taxis – se mueven diariamente por las calles de Kampala. Muchos de estos son antiguos, y no están diseñados para ser amables con el medio ambiente, lo cual, combinado con el peligroso deshecho de la industria, contribuye a la crisis de contaminación de la ciudad. Otros desechos tóxicos emanan de la quema de basura al interior del hogar, donde la madera o el carbón son usados para cocinar.

Kampala es la segunda ciudad más contaminada de África (después de Kano, Nigeria): con su PM de 2.5 (partículas contaminantes de 2.5 micrones de tamaño, y con el mayor impacto a la salud de todos los contaminantes del aire) y una contaminación promedio de 40.8 µg/m³ en 2018, mucho mayor al objetivo sugerido por la Organización Mundial de la Salud de 10 µg/m³. Los efectos de estos diferentes contaminantes pueden sentirse diariamente en toda Kampala. Cuando me encuentro en la altura de alguna de las siete colinas de la ciudad, puedo ver una densa nube de smog que cuelga sobre Kampala y la asfixia. Estar en el horrible tráfico de la ciudad significa exponerse a los letales humos de los exostos producidos por los vehículos cercanos. Salir al aire libre puede ser peligroso: el mayor riesgo que enfrentaba uno al caminar, andar en bicicleta, o salir a correr solía ser un accidente de auto o un ataque de algún desconocido – ahora se le suman los peligros de respirar el peligroso aire (y es la razón de que decida ejercitar dentro de mi casa aquí). No es de sorprender entonces, que los problemas respiratorios estén en alza, con el número de muertes asociadas al mal aire en Uganda llegando a los 13,000 en 2017.

Las noticias locales demuestran una cierta consciencia de los peligros de la contaminación de aire en Kampala y Uganda. Varias cadenas de noticias llaman a tomar acción, con académicos y la Autoridad de la Ciudad Capital Kampala haciendo esfuerzos para educar al público sobre el veneno que están inhalando. En 2018, el gobierno de Uganda promulgó una ley prohibiendo la importación de autos fabricados hace más de 15 años y requiriendo que los dueños de autos hechos hace más de 5 años paguen un impuesto ambiental.  

Pero, ¿es suficiente para combatir la contaminación del aire? Caminar y ocupar el transporte público en Uganda, algo asociado a las clases trabajadoras, es frecuentemente visto de mala forma por los de más arriba. El transporte público tampoco es necesariamente el transporte mas seguro – o mas confiable – especialmente para las mujeres, con un mayor riesgo de ser acosadas o atacadas al usarlo (tristemente, muchas mujeres que conozco han sufrido esto). Un cambio en 2 partes es requerido: uno que haga el transporte público más seguro, más accesible, e inclusivo para los individuos más marginados en el sector urbano, así como un cambio en la mentalidad de que el transporte público es solo para el pobre.

Por supesto, estas son soluciones muy pequeñas a un problema muy grande. Pero si no se toma ninguna acción concreta, la capital de la Perla de África se volverá inutilizable en unas décadas.


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Anna Adima

Anna Adima

Of German-Ugandan heritage, Anna is a PhD student at the University of York in the UK, where she is researching East African History. She is particularly interested in women’s history, heritage preservation, and issues surrounding race and feminism. With stints in Mwanza, The Hague, Toulouse, London, and Nairobi – in between returning to her ‘passport countries’ – Anna is privileged to have called different places around the world home. When she is not covered in dust looking at old documents in historical archives, Anna enjoys drinking coffee, swimming, and can often be found curled up in her favourite spot on the couch reading a book. She tweets @anna_adima.

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