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Household air pollution in Nairobi's slums: A long-term policy evaluation using participatory system dynamics

Dianati, K; Zimmermann, N; Milner, J; Muindi, K; Ezeh, A; Chege, M; Mberu, B; ... Davies, M; + view all (2019) Household air pollution in Nairobi's slums: A long-term policy evaluation using participatory system dynamics. Science of the Total Environment , 660 pp. 1108-1134. 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.12.430. Green open access

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Abstract

58% of Nairobi's population live in informal settlements in extremely poor conditions. Household air pollution is one of the leading causes of premature death and disease in these settlements. Regulatory frameworks and government budgets for household air pollution do not exist and humanitarian organisations remain largely inattentive and inactive on this issue. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the effectiveness of potential indoor-air related policies, as identified together with various stakeholders, in lowering household air pollution in Nairobi's slums. Applying a novel approach in this context, we used participatory system dynamics within a series of stakeholder workshops in Nairobi, to map and model the complex dynamics surrounding household air pollution and draw up possible policy options. Workshop participants included community members, local and national policy-makers, representatives from parastatals, NGOs and academics. Simulation modelling demonstrates that under business-as-usual, the current trend of slowly improving indoor air quality will soon come to a halt. If we aim to continue to substantially reduce household PM₂.₅ levels, a drastic acceleration in the uptake of clean stoves is needed. We identified the potentially high impact of redirecting investment towards household air quality monitoring and health impact assessment studies, therefore raising the public's and the government's awareness and concern about this issue and its health consequences. Such investments, due to their self-reinforcing nature, can entail high returns on investment, but are likely to give ‘worse-before-better’ results due to the time lags involved. We also discuss the usefulness of the participatory process within similar multi-stakeholder contexts. With important implications for such settings this work advances our understanding of the efficacy of high-level policy options for reducing household air pollution. It makes a case for the usefulness of participatory system dynamics for such complex, multi-stakeholder, environmental issues.

Type: Article
Title: Household air pollution in Nairobi's slums: A long-term policy evaluation using participatory system dynamics
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.12.430
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.12.430
Language: English
Additional information: © 2019 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: Household air pollution, System dynamics, Group model building, Participatory modelling, Health impact assessment, Informal settlements, Kenya, Nairobi
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School Env, Energy and Resources
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10066340
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