By Muntaka Chasant | 647 words | Reading time: 2.5 min
Agbogblsohie, Accra, Ghana/ December 2018. Credit: Muntaka Chasant
AIR POLLUTION IN NIGERIA
Air pollution in Nigeria is getting worse, as figures from the 2017 State of Global Air database show the country leads Africa in air pollution-related deaths.1
According to the newly updated estimates by the Health Effects Institute and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluations, more than 114,000 premature deaths in Nigeria in 2017 were attributable to air pollution.
NUMBER OF DEATHS ATTRIBUTABLE TO AIR POLLUTION IN NIGERIA (1990-2017)
The plots above show Nigeria’s air pollution-related deaths between 1990 and 2017.
More than 64,000 of the estimated premature deaths in Nigeria in 2017 were due to the use of biomass-fuelled cookstoves for cooking.
NUMBER OF DEATHS ATTRIBUTABLE TO HOUSEHOLD AIR POLLUTION (HAP) FROM SOLID FUELS IN NIGERIA (1990-2017)
The plots above show indoor air pollution related-deaths in Nigeria between 1990 and 2017.
According to the 2019 State of Global Air (SOGA) report released on Wednesday 3 April 2019, Western Sub-Saharan Africa had the second highest PM2.5 exposures in the world, with Niger (94 μg/m3) ranked the highest. The exposure levels in Cameroon (73 μg/ m3) was the second worst, followed closely by Nigeria (72 μg/m3 ).2
Roughly around 264,000 deaths in the West Africa-sub region in 2017 were attributable to air pollution, according to the new estimates.
Particulate pollution levels in Nigeria exceeded the World Health Organization guideline for outdoor PM2.5 as much as 14 times. The WHO recommended annual guideline for PM2.5 is 5 μg/m3.
PM2.5s are ultra-fine particles of 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter, which are linked to heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer. μg/ m3 = micrograms per cubic meter.
Air Quality Monitoring and Causes of Air Pollution in Nigeria
Nigeria suffers from a serious lack of air pollution data.
Nigerian cities do not regularly monitor and report their air quality.
Lack of data and air pollution awareness could be contributing to death and disease burden attributable to air pollution in Nigeria.
Air pollution in Nigeria is caused mainly by exhaust from cars, resuspended dust, rubbish fires, diesel generators, industry, and smoke from solid fuels paired with kerosene for cooking.
The 2018 World Air Quality Report by IQAir Visual and Greenpeace ranked Nigeria the 10th most polluted country in the world. The report also ranked Kano in northern Nigeria the city with worst air pollution in Africa.3
A World Health Organization report in 2012 ranked Onitsha in Southern Nigeria the world’s most polluted city by PM10 pollution levels.
Air Pollution is linked to around 7 million premature deaths worldwide every year, including 600,000 children.
Poorer countries in Africa and Asia are the worst impacted, where more than 90% of the population breathe air which far exceeds WHO's guideline levels for air quality.
“Air pollution threatens us all, but the poorest and most marginalized people bear the brunt of the burden,” says Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO. “It is unacceptable that over 3 billion people – most of them women and children – are still breathing deadly smoke every day from using polluting stoves and fuels in their homes. If we don’t take urgent action on air pollution, we will never come close to achieving sustainable development.”
Agbogbloshie - A short film
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How would you tackle air pollution in Nigeria?
1. https://www.stateofglobalair.org/data/#/health/plot (Retrieved March, 2019) ↩
2. https://www.airvisual.com/world-most-polluted-cities/world-air-quality-report-2018-en.pdf (Retrieved March, 2019)↩
3. https://www.stateofglobalair.org/data/#/health/plot (Retrieved March, 2019) ↩