Simulation Studies of Air Pollutants from Indoor Lighting Fuels and Respiratory Disease Incidence in Gadamoji Area, Marsabit District of Kenya
Kisiangani, Barasa Michael
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The study was conducted in Gadamoji Division of the hilly Marsabit district, an Arid and Semi-arid area. The aim was to determine the relationship between levels of indoor air pollutants from lighting fuels and respiratory disease incidence. To obtain comparative data, an experimental phase was conducted off the study area. The main objectives were to quantify levels of particulate matter due to lighting fuel emissions, compare results with World Health Organization (WHO) air quality guidelines (AQGs) on indoor air particulate levels, and also to relate these levels to respiratory disease incidence among household occupants in Gadamoji area. Field data was collected using Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) tools. Data were analysed using the statistical package for social scientists (SPSS) and the Microsoft Excel. From the study, results showed that 57% of surveyed households depend on firewood, 25% on can lamps, 12% on hurricane lamps while 6% depend on solar as a sole source of lighting. Other than solar, emission levels for all indoor lighting sources exceed WHO recommended guideline values, mainly owing to social statuses and household practices of the community. Emission levels varied depending on the dependent variables which included type of fuel and design of house structure as the main surrogates. Mean PM10-2.5 levels for firewood, can lamps and hurricane lamps were 1485, 1166 and 723 μg/m3 while PM2.5 levels were 980, 838 and 486 μg/m3 respectively. Results of this study show that children and women are the most affected by respiratory diseases in the study area. Cohort studies indicate that incidences of respiratory diseases were highest among children less than 3 years, adults and more severely, the elderly. The distribution of household respiratory disease incidences with reference from lighting fuels were as follows: Wood fuel 63% of lower and 59% upper respiratory diseases, kerosene can lamps 28% of lower and 27% upper respiratory diseases. Hurricane lamps recorded much lower levels of 12% of lower and 15% upper respiratory diseases while solar powered households recorded the least percentage of respiratory disease incidences at 1% for lower and 2% for the upper respiratory system. Traditional designs of households recorded higher fuel emissions and respiratory disease incidences while modern designs registered lower emission levels and disease incidences. Management of respiratory related cases should start at domestic level by dealing with the root cause other than consequences of respiratory cases. Potential measures may include funding environmental health education programs or funding of affordable housing schemes which meet requisite standards. Subsidizing the cost of cleaner fuels in marginalized areas such as Gadamoji will help improve on affordability. Women should be fully involved in decision making and household management as an effort to alleviate indoor quality. Empowerment of women to participate in alleviation of indoor air pollution would most likely improve domestic household standards. This study can be used to inform public health research as an integral part of epidemiological studies. As a follow up research, to streamline accuracy the study should be done under real situation at the study area, more preferably within existing sample households.