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Findings: costs to people, economies and climate

From pollution to solution in Africa's cities: The case for investing in air pollution and climate change together

This report presents a snapshot of the key health, environmental and financial costs assuming a “business-as-usual” trajectory to 2040 in six fast-growing African cities: Accra, Cairo, Johannesburg, Lagos, Nairobi and Yaoundé. It then contrasts this prediction with an indicative scenario in which the cities adopt a set of clean air measures.

This study looked to find a representative sample of cities that could show the concrete benefits of clean air measures in their own right as well as the wider opportunities for other African cities. The cumulative impacts of these benefits should be viewed in this light.

Use the arrows to navigate through these 9 key findings:

Which clean air measures are we talking about?

Which clean air measures are we talking about? 

Five indicative clean air interventions were chosen to give a sense of what is possible. These interventions were selected because they address key sources of air pollution in the six cities – road traffic, industrial activities, household energy, land clearing and waste burning – while at the same time reducing GHG emissions. Importantly, they are also known to be feasible in the selected cities, although their effectiveness naturally varies. They are deliberately high-level, to account for differing contexts and needs. There is much more detail on the situation in each of our chosen megacities below. The clean air policies are:

  • Strengthening public transport infrastructure to deliver a 25% reduction in gasoline and diesel fuel road traffic;
  • Deploying clean cooking appliances and alternative fuel sources, to directly reduce household air pollution, and indirectly, reduce ambient air pollution;
  • Switching to cleaner sources of energy for industry to reduce harmful emissions;
  • Implementing support systems to switch from slash-and burn to sustainable land-clearing practices;
  • Implementing waste management systems that improve collection, prevent open burning and improve incineration practices.

Go to next section: 3. Cairo, Egypt

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