Home » Greenpeace: Major Air Polluters in Africa Unmasked

Greenpeace: Major Air Polluters in Africa Unmasked

by Madaline Dunn

Greenpeace has released its report, Major Air Polluters in Africa Unmasked, unveiling the biggest human sources of air pollution across Africa, where 1.1 million premature deaths have been linked to air pollution.

The report focuses on major industrial and economic sectors, including the fossil fuel industry.

According to the report, Africa has some of the worst nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide hotspots in the world, all of which are primarily linked to thermal power plants.

In fact, six of the world’s ten largest NO2 emission hotspots identified were found in Africa, all in South Africa.

Meanwhile, two of the world’s ten largest SO2 emission hotspots identified are in South Africa.

Of the ten largest SO2 point sources identified in Africa, a total of nine are thermal power stations, while one is linked to a smelter complex in Mali. 

Four of these power plants are located in South Africa owned by Eskom, two are in Morocco and Egypt, and one is in Zimbabwe.

In North Africa specifically, the report notes that emissions data suggests that the energy sector contributes the most to nitrogen dioxide, volatile organic compounds and sulphur dioxide emissions, while fuel burning at home emits the most black carbon.

More broadly, the report found that across Africa, air pollution exposure is the second leading risk factor for death, with pollutant emissions leading to a considerable number of premature deaths.

Egypt, Nigeria, and South Africa consistently exhibit large disease burdens, with the highest mortality linked to fossil fuel air pollution in these nations, the report shared.

However, it notes that achieving World Health Organization guidelines could result in “significant gains” in life expectancy, improving life expectancy by up to three years in some nations.

To read the full report, head here. 

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