Congestion and traffic-related pollution are typically the largest contributors to air pollution in cities. Rapid urbanization in developing countries has caused large-scale proliferation in motor vehicle use making cities increasingly congested and, subsequently, polluted. There is a growing awareness that the air quality status quo in East African cities is unacceptable. This paper uses the case of Nairobi, Kenya to discuss current traffic pollution challenges and how they may be addressed. The paper begins with an overview of urbanization and pollution effects. It goes on to look at the specific case of Nairobi as it searches for solutions to the negative impacts of pollution through a lens which sees resolution of congestion effects as key to amelioration of traffic-related air pollution. It suggests that a combination of infrastructure, policy, regulatory and softer measures may provide the most effective way to address traffic congestion and, thus, traffic pollution. In addition, the paper highlights the need for further research into the lived experience of negotiating daily life in Nairobi, as well as further exploration of the social, economic and environmental feasibility of potential solutions for the city. While Nairobi is used as the case study city, the lessons learned are generalized for cities in the East African region, which often share similar traits of congestion and traffic related pollution.
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