More people died from pollution in Africa than from lack of food and drinking water. More than a billion people in the dirtiest cities in Africa suffer from the effects of progress on a once green and clean planet. Acid rain, mutations of living organisms, extinction of biological species – all this, unfortunately, has become a reality. Dirtiest city in Africa will shock you.
High pollution in Africa
A serious health crisis is occurring throughout the African continent. When trying to determine the level of air pollution, scientists found that pollution annually kills more people than unsafe drinking water and hunger. The UN is concerned that in the coming years the situation can only worsen if the world community does not do anything to solve the problem. Scientists believe that 712,000 people died in 2018 due to polluted air, while poor-quality water claimed 542,000 lives, and malnutrition – 275,000.
Compared with 1990, the region began massive construction of power plants, the development of heavy and automotive industries, and the creation of factories by American, European, and Chinese companies, which led to increasing pollution level by 36%. But air pollution is an actual problem not only for Africans but also for the population of the whole world.
In recent years, the death toll from the poor air has been rising. They already exceed the death rates from AIDS and malaria combined. The International Health Organization is confident that 3 million people have lost their lives prematurely around the world. Pollution has led to an increase in cardiovascular diseases and respiratory problems.
More than 90% of people all over the world breathe dangerous air, and only 8% – permissible. Not surprisingly, the polluted air was the fourth killer of our planet. There are fears that if Africa does not solve this problem in the near future, the continent will face a large-scale environmental disaster that is familiar to India and China.
Nigeria and Ethiopia occupy the top lines in the risk group, where industrialization began abruptly in 2013, and the number of hazardous enterprises increased. But, unfortunately, there are countries where researchers have failed to determine the causes of pollution. Hence, it will not succeed to mitigate the consequences for them.
The dirtiest city: top 10
It began in the 1980s. Well-off people in Europe and America realized that a garbage dump in Africa would be much cheaper than in their own countries. Can you imagine how much the disposal of toxic chemicals in Europe costs in compliance with strict environmental regulations and safety rules? This is a lot of money. It can be done for a penny in Africa. So giant barges sailed here from all over the world, laden with hazardous waste and electronic debris.
In 1987, an Italian ship dumped a toxic load on Coco Beach in Nigeria, but instead of money for their families, residents got chemical burns and partial paralysis. There are such stories, not one and not two. As a result, the UN still banned the import of hazardous wastes from progressed countries to developing ones. However, the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand refused to sign this convention, not to mention greedy merchants and corrupt officials.
The list of the 10 most polluted cities in the world, compiled by the publication Forbes, immediately hit 16 settlements of African countries.
Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar, is recognized as the most ecologically unfavorable African city. A little cleaner looks like the capital of Ethiopia – Addis Ababa. It has developed one of the most serious sanitary situations on the continent, and indeed in the whole world. Lack of environmental protection programs, poor sanitation and poor quality of drinking water in African cities lead to high infant mortality and extremely low average life expectancy.
According to Forbes correspondents, Brazzaville (Republic of the Congo), N’Djamena (Chad), Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), and Bangui (Central African Republic) are further on the list. These cities are characterized by unacceptably high air pollution, unsuitable for drinking water and clogging of water sources with sewage waste. The capital of Burkina Faso – Ouagadougou is distinguished by a high level of respiratory and oncological diseases due to severe air pollution. We have compiled for you the top 10 dirtiest cities in Africa. So read the information below very attentively.
10. Agbogbloshi, Ghana
Your cell phones, tablets, and computers are dying here. The two millionth city near the capital of Ghana, Accra, has become the world’s largest e-waste cemetery. Every year, about 200,000 tons of e-garbage are brought here from developed countries, from which local people mine copper and aluminum from morning to evening. The easiest way to get copper is burning, so the city is drowning in clubs of poisonous smoke. The main labor force is boys from 10 to 18 years. Pairs of lead, mercury, and arsenic undermine their health: many do not live to even 30 years.
9. Tiara-sur-Mer, Senegal
This city is sadly famous in the 2014 rankings for the case of massive acute lead poisoning. Local women earned their pennies by manually crushing used lead-acid batteries and melting the lead they mined for resale.
Lead fumes and dust filled the city. 18 children died from a rapidly progressive disorder of the nervous system. A study conducted on other members of the community (including brothers, sisters, and mothers of dead children) showed that all of them were also subjected to lead poisoning.
8. Niamey, Niger
In the mid-1980s, the Niger River was very dry, and residents drilled about 120 wells. The city was overgrowing: the population reached 700,000 people, but the water supply and sewerage systems remained the same – modern sewage treatment systems did not appear here.
Due to uncontrolled economic activities and deforestation, groundwater soon became contaminated with nitrates and bacteria, such as streptococcus. Feces are added to this mixture in the rainy season. The problem of water quality here is more acute than anywhere else on Earth. Today, every fourth child born in the capital of Niger does not live to 5 years old.
7. Nairobi, Kenya
The “trash monster” of Nairobi is not only garbage imported from developed countries but also the own waste of a megacity that has grown more than three times over a couple of decades. Here live 3 million people, and the landfill is still one, opened in 1986 and long overflowing.
Trucks bring here 1000-1200 tons of garbage every day. The landfill “lives” and moves: there are more than 3000 men, women, and children who seek out at least some raw materials for recycling, marabou and pigs “graze” here. Having scoured at the dump all day, you can earn about 4 dollars.
6. Zabbalin, Egypt
The name of this suburb of Cairo directly translates: “city of garbage men.” Fetid streets, people in respirators, donkeys with carts laden with garbage. Here lives the lowest, according to the Arabs, a social group – Coptic Christians. For several decades, they have been collecting trash from residents of the capital and taking them to their poor residential areas.
The archaic and hazardous system, however, is one of the most efficient in the world: zabbalins scavengers manage to recycle 85% of waste. Western recycling companies can only dream of such indicators! However, part of the waste in Zabbalin is still burned, seriously polluting the atmosphere of Cairo.
5. Bamako, Mali
Compared with 1960, the city’s population has grown about 20 times – from 100,000 to 2 million. How should public transport systems, energy, water supply, wastewater treatment, industrial emissions standards develop? For some reason, no one thought about this.
4. Pretoria, South Africa
South Africa is one of the few African countries with official environmental regulations. But it is very difficult to control their compliance in large cities. Pretoria with its three million inhabitants is a real “city of contrasts”: a modern center with [email protected], business centers, and fountains is surrounded by slums in which there is not even electricity. Locals burn coal for heating and cooking. Add to this smog from transportation and industry, water pollution with estrogen-like chemicals – and you will understand why Pretoria’s doctors are sounding the alarm and talking about the risk of cancer.
3. Maputo, Mozambique
While some are getting richer being involved in waste recycling from the developed countries of the world, others are trying to find at least some means of subsistence in giant dumps. But when CNN journalists come to the landfill in Maputo, its inhabitants openly demonstrate their position, hospitality, smile widely and are eager to help. These are men, women, and children who eat leftovers and put on shreds left over from more prosperous members of society. How many hundreds (or thousands) of people inhabit the 17 hectares of the landfill – no one knows.
2. Casablanca, Morocco
50% of Casablanca residents suffer from diseases caused by air pollution: asthma, conjunctivitis, chronic respiratory problems. Besides, local residents take water from rainwater canals, and they themselves dump slops and garbage into these canals. Apparently, the proverb about “do not spit in the well” is not yet invented here.
The dirtiest city
We actively use electronic devices but never think about where a broken and outdated TV, mobile phone or microwave are sent. And they can easily move from the nearest garbage to Africa, or rather to Accra, the capital of Ghana. There is a whole sub-district, which is one of the largest e-waste dumps in the world. Electronic garbage brought from the United States, Japan, Europe, poisons the soil and water with lead, cadmium, mercury.
Ghana annually imports 215 thousand tons of e-waste from abroad, mainly from Western Europe, while maintaining its own – 129 thousand tons per year. Part of the garbage is recycled at local electrical appliance recovery facilities. But most of the trash (which is mainly plastic and metals harmful to the body) is burned.
According to research, the level of harmful substances in the environment here exceeds the permissible rate of more than a hundred times. Local children rummage through toxic waste in search of parts and non-ferrous metal that can be resold. The district in Accra headed the top 10 most polluted cities in the world for 2018 according to the American Blacksmith Institute and the Swiss Green Cross.
As a result, there is a high level of air pollution. On the first floors of two-three-story brick houses with unfinished roofs, there are large rooms for sorting and packing garbage; upper floors are residential. All the streets, staircases of homes and even the rooftops are littered with trash. Part of the garbage, such as plastic waste, is burned in an open way. Mainly women and children are engaged in sorting, while men specialize in export.
Right there they sell fruits, bake flat cakes, hold shops and cafes, give birth to babies. Children play in the middle of garbage heaps. In general, the inhabitants of Agbogbloshi live a “normal” life from generation to generation, while Accra is declared a zone of ecological disaster.
Blood lead levels in 99% of local children are three times the maximum permissible values. The infant mortality rate is one of the highest in the world. The vegetation around the city has disappeared, the land has been burned out, and the locals have long been accustomed to acid rain.
Technical progress is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, many things that seemed incredible a few years ago became a reality for many people. On the other hand, to meet demand, industrial production and mining are growing exponentially, while to save, they often do not pay any attention to the ecology, literally destroying everything living around.