Thursday, July 18, 2024

Air pollution has diminished in northern Sub-Saharan Africa – Study

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Air quality in Africa’s fast-growing Sub-Saharan region has been improving over the past fifteen years, reversing the typical trend of soaring pollution that accompanies rapid development, according to a study carried out by scientists at Cardiff University in the UK.

Purposely-set bush fires in the northern Sub-Saharan African region, a major cause of air pollution, have declined by nearly five percent, according to the study.

Scientists tracked nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution in between 2005 and 2017, and estimated that fewer vegetation fires are due to socio-economic development.

“Higher levels of economic productivity are associated with lower NO2 concentrations, suggesting that socioeconomic development in this region is resulting in net improvements to air quality,” according to the study, which looked at satellite data.

Normally when economies grow, air pollution rises. But this study shows the opposite. Fossil fuel combustion has nearly doubled on the African continent since 2000, according to the study, but bush burning, or biomass burning, has lowered, making a major difference to air quality.

“Our results suggest that countries in Africa’s northern biomass-burning region are following a different pathway during the fire season, resulting in potential air quality benefits,” according to the study.

“However, these benefits may be lost with increasing fossil fuel use and are absent during the rainy season,” it added. Read more…

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