Estimates from the World Bank show that the vast majority of people breathing unsafe air are located in middle-income countries, where 5.5 billion people are exposed to hazardous PM2.5 levels. About 64.5% of these people are in lower-middle-income countries, and 4.4% are in low-income countries.

Some of the challenges facing air quality managers in African cities include limited technical capacity, lack of trained personnel, and inability to access analytical tools and modelling that can help inform clean air action.

Canairy Alert aims to address this challenge by translating and packaging globally available datasets such as NASA’s GEOS-CF forecast, local air quality monitoring data from calibrated low-cost monitors, reference grade monitors, emissions inventories and others into decision-relevant and locally accessible tools. Following a successful pilot in Latin America, the tool was piloted in four African cities: Kigali, Nairobi, Kampala and Accra to enable air quality managers and policy makers to identify key pollution sources and forecast pollution episodes.

The first set of cities participating in CanAIRy Alert include: Accra, Ghana; Kampala, Uganda; Kigali, Rwanda and Nairobi, Kenya. The project is funded by Clean Air Fund and led by WRI Africa. Partners include NASA, UNEP and African low-cost sensor networks, AirQo and AfriqAir and local government e.g., Kampala Capital City Authority and the Rwanda Environmental Management Authority.

CanAIRy Alert builds on the CityAQ: a project piloted in 2020-21 to provide reliable, locally relevant, accessible air quality forecast data and visualizations to resource-constrained cities facing air quality challenges. The first cohort of cities included Guadalajara Metropolitan Area, Mexico; Leon, Mexico; Guanajuato State, Mexico; Nuevo Leon, Mexico and Bogotá, Colombia. Quito, Ecuador and Mexico City, Mexico participated as observers. By actualizing this project, we tackle the need to have:

  1. Data deprived cities with actionable information about local air quality: all participating cities will have access to air quality forecasts and information about regional emission sources. These tools will inform more effective air quality policy making and increase the value from existing investments in air quality monitoring.
  2. Added value from Low-cost sensor (LCS) deployments: Operational LCS data will now be used to obtain local air quality forecasts, thus making LCS deployments more valuable and increasing the accessibility of the forecast tool.
  3. Other cities with access to new tools that improve their air quality management: The tools will be operationalised and made available to any city with open monitoring data with a dedicated user website, outreach and dissemination activities to boost uptake.
  4. More cities encouraged to make their data open: Access to these tools will provide an additional incentive for cities to make their air quality data open on available platforms which encourages transparent, reproducible research and drives greater demand for clean air in these cities.

Get Involved

Register to be part of the next cohort

Interested in joining the community of practice? Please fill out this application.

The objective is to strengthen the capacities of local and subnational authorities as well as other specialists in issues related to the implementation, use and evaluation of air quality management tools. The interaction of Latin America and Africa focuses on cities exploring together their challenges and experiences to leverage their strengths in air quality tools and practices.

At the end of the first stage (January 2023) the participants involved are:

93 members

6 countries

  • Mexico
  • Colombia
  • Ghana
  • Kenya
  • Senegal
  • Uganda

3 cities and 1 metropolitan area in Mexico

  • Guadalajara Metro Area
  • León
  • Monterrey
  • Salamanca

1 city in Colombia

  • Bogota

4 cities in Africa

  • Accra
  • Kampala
  • Nairobi
  • Mombasa

6 states in Mexico

  • Mexico City
  • Jalisco
  • Guanajuato
  • Nuevo León
  • State of Mexico
  • Querétaro

The initiative is developed through monthly technical sessions, the topics addressed are tailored to the local needs of the participants:

The closure of the first phase was marked by the Lessons Learned and What’s Next for the Air Quality Community of Practice event. The second stage of this Community of Practice will be part of CanAIRy Alert. The sessions are available on TheCityFix Learn and YouTube in English and Spanish.


Cover Image by: Dreamstime