Air pollution is a major health problem in every major city in the world. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates the number of deaths due to poor air quality at 7 M.
Against this, the Urban Community of Yaoundé (CUY) decided to do something about it, which was supported by the mayor of the city and financed by the French embassy. This way, an air quality week celebration took place between 15-28th November 2021.
On the one hand, 40 micro-sensors were installed to measure pollutants throughout the city, so that their origins and density could be known. Citizens could monitor local air quality using the Caeli mobile application developed by AtmoTrack.
On the other hand, it was decided to pedestrianize (between 6:00 and 20:00) the east part of Kennedy Avenue up to the Intendencia intersection in the city centre. For this, concrete planters were used as a barrier, and a large bamboo scenography was displayed. In addition, cultural, sport and awareness-raising campaigns were organised.
During this time, the endless traffic jams on this street disappeared. Traders were also relocated, as the situation was very lawless and crime-ridden, with recurrent attacks on premises.
Although there was a lot of resistance from drivers/traders trying to pass the prohibited section, about ten officers from the municipality and the police ensured compliance with the directives.
After the analysis, an average decrease of 5 µg/m³ in PM2.5 concentrations was observed thanks to the pedestrianisation. The pilot project aims not only to improve the quality of life of the population, but also to anticipate major changes in cities in the coming decades for environmental reasons, such as the fight against local recurrent flooding.
Photos by: ChrisGuilhou, ArchiMobility