Clean air activists condemn 'silent pandemic' of pollution in African cities

AFP - PIUS UTOMI EKPEI

Environmental activists have condemned air pollution on the African continent as a silent pandemic that will cost billions of dollars and claim millions of lives.

In their study of Accra, Lagos, Johannesburg and Cairo, the Clean Air Fund said countries could not keep turning a blind eye to the issue.

“Air pollution is estimated to cost a total of 115,7 billion dollars from 2023 to 2040 across Accra, Cairo, Johannesburg and Lagos under a business-as-usual scenario,” said the report.

Like climate change, air pollution is mostly due to burning fossil fuels. The report points out that air pollution is massively overlooked by policy makers and funders.

It stresses that without urgent action on clean air, the financial cost of air pollution in Africa’s cities is predicted to increase by more than 600 per cent by 2040. Studies show that Africa’s cities are likely to house 65 per cent of its population by 2060

In 2019, according to the United Nations Environment Programme, air pollution caused 1.1 million deaths across Africa. HIV AIDS-related deaths in the same year amounted to more than 440,000 on the continent.

Urban exodus

They could also make land clearance and waste management more environmentally-friendly.


Read more on RFI English

Read also:
EU to drastically reduce deadly air pollution with tougher laws
IEA says carbon emissions will peak in 2025 in ‘historic turning point’
Climate pledges still 'nowhere near' enough to limit rising temperatue to 1.5C° - UN