A global policy forum has launched a determining study which reveals that Africa’s air pollution is provoking more premature deaths than unsafe water or childhood malnutrition. This disquieting situation could create a health and climate crisis similar those happening in countries like China or India.
This has been the first major attempt to evaluate both human and financial costs of the continent’s pollution and it underlines that dirty air could be killing up to 712,000 people a year, compared with approximately 542,000 from unsafe water, 275,000 from malnutrition and 391,000 from unsafe sanitation and lack of hygiene.
Outdoor air pollution from traffic, power generation and industries is increasing more rapidly, especially within the fast-developing countries of Africa such as Egypt, South Africa, Ethiopia and Nigeria. The main problem is that there is not nearly enough knowledge of the sources of air pollution and its impact in much of Africa.
Sufficient economic and social developments in countries like China have allowed them to concentrate on solving environmental problems. However, most African states have the need to face other urgent issues such as pandemics and malnutrition, and this does not enable them to give a total focus on pollution problems.
Consequently, the report calls for urgent international action in order to help most African countries deal with such serious issue.