Introduction

Climate change from air pollution poses a major threat to the entire world, but especially to those whom depend on ecosystem goods and agriculture for their livelihoods. Environmental degradation affects people at both a local and macro level, and long-term issues such as rainfall disruption, temperature increase, and accelerated disease serve to exacerbate local challenges such as smog, wildfire, and crop failure.

In general, African nations are the most affected by climate change, yet contribute the least to global emissions. Considering this fact, and give the severity and inevitability of the crisis, political action has very unified and cooperative across the continent. Every African country is a signatory to the Paris Accord, and many nation-specific guidelines have been produced to help lawmakers better understand the nuance of local ecosystems.

Without effective and affordable monitoring, nations become trapped in a negative feedback loop wherein poor enforcement capacity permits regulatory violations that further weaken the perceived power of the government.  This not only affects the economic vitality of tourism and agriculture, but also undermines the long-term autonomy and agency of African countries, their people, and their policy mandates.

Therefore, deal review is conducted by loss-averse satisficers who expedite due diligence by adopting conservative decision-making heuristic shortcuts, which we at Two Lakes refer to as “deal-breaking conditions”.

Despite this unity and initiative, media narratives typically portray Africans as mere victims of climate change that are not capable of or interested in leading positive action. This stereotype is reinforced by insufficient monitoring and regulatory enforcement, which encourage multinational companies to ignore anti-pollution guidelines, invest in safety protocols, or organise effective clean-ups.

Breaking the Cycle with Data

A major problem facing air pollution activists today is the lack of data required to inform people, advise decision-makers, and actually punish polluters.  

But with an affordable, durable, and automated pollution monitoring system, regulators can quickly overcome "human inefficiencies" in present systems. What's needed? Political desire, public activism, and basic funding. The goal? A sustainable pollution control system that rewards compliance and enhances business activity, rather than impedes it.

INSIGHT

Air pollution poses a growing threat to African lives, livelihoods, and security.

3 MARCH 2022

Uwazi for Africa

To help break this cycle, Two Lakes is launching a new NGO called Uwazi specifically to improve monitoring capabilities in Africa. Our innovative strategy is the first of its kind to be specifically developed for Africa, and includes components such as local hiring commitments, cost mitigation tactics, and lifetime support and training. Our belief is that the people best equipped to tackle pollution in Africa are, and must always be, Africans.
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