The State of Global Air has published a new report on air quality in Africa. The organisation is responsible for reports investigating the air quality of continents and countries worldwide, and the report on Africa is the most recent in a line of very detailed and important insights into air quality.
The full report is 23 pages long, and if you’re interested in taking a look, you can do so here. However, we will summarise some key findings if you don’t have time to read the whole report.
1.2 billion people live in Africa, and air pollution is the second leading risk factor for death across the continent. Perhaps more worryingly, five of the ten most polluted countries for PM2.5 are in Africa - particularly sub-Saharan Africa. State of Global Air reports that 1.1 million deaths in Africa were likely due to air pollution.
Of these 1.1 million, over 60% are linked to household (indoor) air pollution, likely due to the use of indoor fires and gas for cooking. Newborns and children under five years old are at the most risk, and 14% of all child deaths in Africa were linked to air pollution.
The report also highlights the trends in PM2.5 exposure for countries and regions around Africa. Western Africa was found to have the largest decline in air quality, with Nigeria seeing a particularly striking drop in air quality.
On the other hand, Northern Africa saw a modest improvement in air quality, with a 7% decrease in PM2.5 levels since 2010. Kenya had a particularly striking improvement and saw a nearly 20% decrease in PM2.5 levels.
However, despite these improvements, a lot of work is still to be done. Much of the worst pollution in the world is present in Africa, and air pollution has become one of the leading causes of death on the continent. Countries like Kenya have shown that improvements can be made, but change will take time.