Air pollution is regarded as the greatest environmental risk to human health. According to the World Health Organization, 9 out of 10 people around the world breathe air containing high levels of pollutants. An alarming 7 million people die each year from air pollution. Of these pollution related deaths, 9 out of 10 occur in low- and middle-income countries, mainly in Africa and Asia. In Kenya, air pollution causes an average of 19,000 deaths each year!
As the world commemorates World Environment Day, we highlight the story of Opibus – an electric vehicle conversion company in Nairobi, Kenya replacing internal combustion engines with battery electric power in order to reduce emissions and help improve air quality and save the environment.
Founded by a group of Swedish university students interested in green energy, Opibus converts existing fuel cars into electric cars as opposed to manufacturing new electric cars. They are now on a mission to electrify Kenya’s public service vehicles, popularly known as matatus.
We caught up with Opibus co-founders Filip Gardler and Filip Lovstrom at their garage in the outskirts of Kenya’s capital Nairobi to get more insight into their initiative.