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  • Writer's pictureCecilia Wandiga

Kenya Sustainable Cities - Defining Airshed Management Zones

Most are familiar with the term watershed. Basically the landmark features that form the boundaries of where water flowing in the same direction converges. In geographical terms, a drainage basin.

We can monitor water basins and their corresponding watersheds.

Watershed examples in Kenya include 

Tana River

Thiririka River

Counties can identify and manage watersheds within their boundaries and can cooperate across boundaries as well

Similarly, an airshed demarcates the boundaries within which land-based emissions and particulate matter flow towards the air. For example, within a given county, where are high concentrations of industrial activity, garbage burning, cookstove use, traffic congestion... 

A brief background on airshed management

New Zealand example covering multiple municipalities

Our goal with airshed management is to monitor the aggregate effects of human activity on air quality and the resulting impacts on biodiversity, human health and, yes, water quality. 

We are concerned with noxious emissions and Green House Gases as well as Particulate Matter levels (both naturally occurring and from human pollution)

PM 2.5

PM 10

Examples of monitoring and interventions to reduce national PM levels 

Switzerland (with global data)


Effective airshed management is critical for both improved human health and for compliance with international agreements such as COP21. 

New Zealand has a publicly available guide on population sizes and particulate matter levels that should be monitored in airshed management

Kenya has laid the foundations for a national airshed management system 

System for Land Based Emissions in Kenya

CSTI Managing Trustee, Prof Shem Wandiga (FRSC, EBS) has been conducting research on air quality at selected sites across Kenya. The data are the beginnings of the type of data collection needed for effective airshed management. 

Emissions Monitoring 

Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) 

Contact us for more details on hiring CSTI researchers for air quality and airshed management research

Images Courtesy of 

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