Across Africa, increased industrialisation and dust storms are resulting in air pollution that is taking its toll on human health in the region. Air pollution has been causing more premature deaths than unsafe water or childhood malnutrition on the continent as well as contributing to the climate crisis.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country is the most polluted country within Africa and the 10th most polluted country in the world, more than 64,000 people died from household air pollution in 2017. Onitsha, a bustling city within Nigeria, is considered one of the worst-ranked cities globally with a record thirty times more particulate matter concentration in the air than is recommended by the WHO.
Senegal is another country in Africa which is contending with high levels of air pollution. Its capital, Dakar, has seven times more particulate matter concentration than the recommended threshold. During the dry season dust from the Sahara and industrial and motor vehicle pollution can cause a high density of toxic air in the country.
Kenya is also fighting high levels of air pollution with particulate matter concentration which is twice the recommended threshold. Respiratory diseases have now surpassed malaria as the number one killer in the country.
As the population of Africa grows and with increasing urbanisation the air quality is expected to worsen further unless more is done to monitor and prevent air pollution in the region.
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