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  • Kenya joins ozone-monitoring network

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A new monitoring facility adds Kenya to a worldwide network to detect ozone depletion and monitor the levels of ozone-damaging pollutants.

The high-tech monitoring station was inaugurated last week at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Nairobi, and is the first of its kind in tropical and sub-tropical Africa.

One of the key roles of the facility will be to better understand the fate of ozone-damaging chemicals produced in the region from both human-made and natural sources. In particular the information gleaned will help scientists to find out how much of this pollution reaches the upper atmosphere, which in turn influences how quickly the ozone layer may recover from past damage.

UNEP’s executive director, Klaus Toepfer, warned that the results of large amounts of ozone mixing with pollution from cars, factories and other sources could be extremely harmful. “These smogs, increasingly a phenomenon in developing as well as developed countries, can prove fatal for vulnerable people such those with heart conditions and asthma,” he said.

As well as helping to monitor local air quality, the Nairobi station — which is part of an international research network including the recently launched European Space Agency ENVISAT satellite — may eventually assist in producing pollution 'forecasts'.

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United Nations Environment Programme
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