The State of Air Quality and Health Impacts in Africa

The report titled “The State of Air Quality and Health Impacts in Africa” was released recently.

Who published “The State of Air Quality and Health Impacts in Africa” report?

“The State of Air Quality and Health Impacts in Africa” report was released by US-based research organization Health Effects Institute (HEI). It provides a comprehensive assessment of major air pollution sources and related health impacts in Africa, which hosts more than 1.2 billion people. The report was released ahead of the upcoming COP27 Climate Change Conference in Egypt.

What are the key findings of the report?

  • Africa is one of the world’s most severely affected regions in the world due to air pollution.
  • Several countries in the continent are experiencing some of the highest levels of air pollution in the world.
  • Air pollution is the 2nd leading cause of death in the continent.
  • The continent has the 5 of the top 10 most polluted countries in the world in terms of outdoor fine particulate matter (PM 2.5).
  • In terms of long-term exposure to air pollution, outdoor PM 2.5 is the most consistent predictor of mortalities caused by respiratory, cardiovascular and other diseases.
  • Due to the uneven distribution of clean energy access in Africa, there has been a spike in disease burden in certain parts of the continent.
  • Over 1.1 million people have died because of air pollution in Africa. Of these, 63 per cent of the deaths were linked to exposure to household air pollution (HAP).
  • Over 75 per cent of population in East, West, Central, and Southern Africa cooks using fuels such as coal, charcoal and wood. This is causing HAP exposure every day.
  • In these regions, newborns and children below the age of 5 are especially vulnerable to HAP emitted by solid fuels used for cooking purposes.
  • In 2019, air pollution caused 14 per cent of the total deaths among children below the age of 5.
  • Air pollution has long term consequences on the health of newborns and infants. These include problems related to lung development and increased susceptibility to communicable diseases like lower respiratory infections.

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