Toute l'actu sur la protection de l'environnement

AFRICA: a report identifies the main culprits of air pollution

A report published on 2 April 2024 by Greenpeace Africa and Greenpeace MENA highlights the extent of air pollution in Africa, identifying the main culprits and underlining the serious repercussions on public health and the environment. Entitled « Air Pollution in Africa: The Main Culprits Unmasked », the document provides an overview of the sources of air pollution in the region and calls for urgent action to mitigate this growing crisis.

The report reveals that exposure to air pollution is the second leading risk factor for death in Africa, causing more than 1.1 million premature deaths each year. Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa are singled out as the worst affected countries, with a significant burden of disease linked to air pollution from fossil fuels.
In terms of the main sources of pollution, the report identifies thermal power stations as the main emitters of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulphur dioxide (SO2) in Africa. Nine of the ten largest sources of NO2 are located in South Africa, belonging to the electricity company Eskom. In addition, two of the ten largest SO2 emission hotspots are also in South Africa.
Impact on health
Exposure to air pollution is associated with a wide range of health problems, including heart and lung disease, pregnancy problems, kidney problems and cancer. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), compliance with WHO air quality guidelines could lead to significant gains in life expectancy.
Faced with this growing crisis, Greenpeace is calling on African governments to adopt proactive measures to combat air pollution. This includes the installation of air quality monitoring devices and access to real-time data to enable rapid action. The report also highlights the importance of investing in clean technologies, particularly in the energy sector, to reduce emissions of air pollutants.
For Fana Sibanyoni, a campaigner from the Mpumalanga region of South Africa, « pollution from coal plants, such as those operated by Sasol in our region, has not only tarnished our health, leading to failed health exams and chronic illnesses, but it has also darkened our future, leaving us unemployed as companies choose to hire from outside, citing our ‘unfitness’ for work ».
Fanta Mabo

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