sensors.AFRICA is a pan-African citizen science initiative that uses sensors to monitor air, water and sound pollution to give citizens actionable information about their cities. The air quality sensors use open source technology from theLuftdaten project. The initiative was seed-funded by innovateAFRICA and is being incubated by Code for Africa.
The World Health Organisation reported in 2018 that air pollution causes about 7 million premature deaths globally each year. Indoor air pollution accounts for 3.8 million deaths globally, while outdoor (ambient) air pollution causes 4.2 million deaths every year. In addition to deaths directly attributable to air pollution, exposure increases the risk of respiratory diseases and cardiovascular conditions. The leading pollutant is particulate matter (PM), which is composed of sulfate, nitrates, ammonia, sodium chloride, black carbon, mineral dust and water droplets. Citizens and governments are increasingly aware of the toxic health risks from air pollution but don’t have easily accessible, hyper-local and real-time data that would provide actionable information to either avoid the effects, fight the causes, or stage interventions. sensors.AFRICA aims to change this with low-cost air quality sensors, which citizens and civic watchdogs will be able to use to measure, and monitor the quality of real-time air. The data from these air quality sensors are already being used by local watchdog NGOs and journalists to spotlight major public health risks using both the live data and data from our historical archives. We aim to ramp up these watchdog impacts, by giving public protectors more and better actionable data.
People living in developing nations face life-threatening environmental dangers from waterborne diseases, simply because they don’t have reliable, timely and actionable data to help make decisions and/or campaign for change. The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2018 study projects 642,486 deaths annually due to contaminated drinking water. sensors.AFRICA seeks to change this, by deploying simple low-cost digital sensors and advanced algorithms that give citizens real-time and hyperlocal updates when there are local outbreaks of cholera or otherS waterborne diseases or their water is contained with either chemical or metallic pollutants. The project does this by applying several technologies which include deploying revolutionary new digital microscopy sensors, to test for coliforms (the organism that causes cholera) and other waterborne pathogens. The devices automatically photograph and magnify water samples on-site at key community water sources, and then use special software to analyse for coliforms in real-time. If dangerous levels are detected, a public alert is broadcast through social media / dark social channels and local authorities are summoned for definitive lab-based testing. This is a quantum leap for communities, who currently rely on infrequent and expensive laboratory tests by local authorities, with water samples collected physically and then transported hundreds of kilometres away to labs for tests that take 4-7 days to produce results.
An estimated 5,000 fishermen drown during storms on just Lake Victoria every year. StormWatch will change this by using VIEWS ((Lake Victoria Intense storm Early Warning System) to predict thunderstorms and send out public alerts to villagers ahead of extreme storms on Africa's great lakes.VIEWS uses data from satellite imagery and specially developed algorithms of the afternoon’s land weather surrounding the lake to predict the occurrence of extreme storms later than the night with 93% accuracy. The prototype algorithm, produces predictions for all three countries bordering Lake Victoria, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. StormWatch will test the same methodology at two additional lakes in Tanzania, Lake Malawi and Lake Rukwa.