Kenyan Students Fight Air Pollution with Bamboo Planting

Students at Dandora Secondary School in Kenya’s capital are taking matters into their own hands to combat the dangerous air pollution caused by a neighboring trash dump, VOA reported in an article published on Sunday, May 12.

More than 100 bamboo plants now dot the school’s grounds, planted by students armed with gardening hoes. The school sits next to the Dandora dumpsite, one of Africa’s largest landfills, which was declared full 23 years ago but continues to receive over 2,000 tons of waste daily.

“Sitting in my classroom is like studying in a smelly latrine,” said 17-year-old student Allan Sila. “The acrid smoke from the burning trash fills the air every morning, causing respiratory issues like asthma.”

School principal Eutychus Maina initiated the bamboo project last year, inspired by research showing bamboo’s ability to effectively absorb carbon dioxide and other pollutants. The fast-growing plants, which cost 400 Kenyan shillings ($3) each, have already reached 9 feet tall since being planted in August.

“The impact of air pollution is felt all over the body, including the brain,” said Aderiana Mbandi, an air quality expert at the UN Environment Programme. “Minimizing exposure is the best way to reduce its harmful effects.”

In addition to the bamboo, the school is also planting trees like jacaranda and grevillea to further improve air circulation around the campus. While funding the project is a challenge, the determined students and staff refuse to let the dumpsite’s pollution go unchecked.

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