Air pollution is a hidden pandemic in Africa — tips on how to reduce your exposure and help combat it

Most strategies being used to tackle air pollution focus on household air pollution compared to outdoor air pollution, study found

Gabriel Okello, Meelan Thondoo

Down To Earth | May 11, 2023

Children and elderly people are vulnerable to air pollution. Photo by Pius Utomi Ekpei / AFP from Children and elderly people are vulnerable to air pollution. Photo by Pius Utomi Ekpei / AFP from

Rapid urbanisation in Africa is worsening air pollution levels. There are economic as well as health consequences.

Air pollution threatens human health, health systems and economic activity. It is the second leading risk factor for death across Africa, contributing to an estimated 1.1 million deaths on the continent in 2019.

The continent has an urban population of over 500 million. This is projected to be over 700 million by 2026. In the face of such enormous numbers and a seemingly insurmountable problem, it can feel difficult for ordinary people to protect themselves or make a difference.

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Joint Statement by Communist and Workers’ Parties on the ongoing military conflict in Sudan

In Defense of Communism | April 28, 2023

Joint Statement: Solidarity with the Sudanese people and democratic forces against the military rulers and their bloody war

We, the undersigned Communist and Workers’ parties, strongly condemn the continuing bloody war between the military rulers in Sudan, which has resulted in hundreds of innocent civilians killed and thousands wounded.  

This catastrophic war is a power struggle among the ruling generals aimed at preserving their illegitimate gains and crushing the Sudanese people’s aspirations for freedom, peace, social justice and radical change.

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Common Sense, Not Conspiracy Theories, Accounts For Africans’ Embrace Of Russian Media

And China’s help to provide Africans with free TV, even in remote villages, is making a new life possible.

Andrew Korybko

The Greanville Post | April 15, 2023

Children watch TV in a village in Cote d’Ivoire. The Wan Cun Tong project cooperates with some 500 villages in Cote d’Ivoire. (Photo: Courtesy of StarTimes; see story in Appendix below)

The New York Times condescendingly implied that Africans lack the media literacy to discern the difference between fact and fiction in their latest piece about why they’re embracing Russian media. Titled “How Putin Became a Hero on African TV”, it pushes the conspiracy theory that there’s supposedly a shadowy Kremlin-concentric plot at play to explain this growing trend, which denies Africans any agency with respect to deciding for themselves which information products to consume.

It’s not difficult to figure out what’s going on as long as observers aren’t blinded by wishful thinking fantasies like those that continue to influence many Western commentators. It’s common sense that Africans would gravitate towards alternative sources of information to learn more about events across the world after rightly coming to suspect the US-led West’s Mainstream Media (MSM) of ulterior motives.

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Victims of climate change: This year, 135 people may die every day due to drought in Somalia

Consecutive years of failed rains may have caused this longest, most severe drought in the country’s history

Kiran Pandey

Down To Earth | March 22, 2023

Photo: iStock Photo: iStock

At least 43,000 people died due to drought in Somalia in 2022, according to estimates in a new study. This year may be worse, it added. 

The total number of human deaths forecast for January was 18,100 and that for June 34,200, stated the report released March 19, 2023.

This means 135 people may die each day due to drought in Somalia, the study commissioned by the Federal Ministry of Health and Human Services along with the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF. The drought crisis is far from over and is much more severe than the 2017-2018 drought crisis. 

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More children in central Sahel will face severe hunger in June-August 2023: Survey

The number of hungry people in Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso is projected to cross 7.5 million

Madhumita Paul

Down To Earth | March 17, 2023

Photo: iStock Photo: iStock

More than seven million children will suffer from severe hunger in central Sahel during the June-August 2023 lean season, according to a new joint survey by non-profit, Save the Children and other agencies in the region.

The number of hungry people in Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso is projected to cross 7.5 million, being in the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) crisis level 3 or worse by mid-2023. 

That is a significant rise from the level of 5.3 million people between October-December 2022.

Children account for up to 50 per cent of the population in Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali, according to the United Nations population data. 

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Horn of Africa likely to witness failed rainy season for sixth consecutive time: International agencies

Humanitarian crisis brewing; communities will need years to recover from this historically severe drought

Kiran Pandey

Down To Earth | February 17, 2023

To address the devastating drought-induced hunger and malnutrition across the region, World Food Programme has developed a regional drought response plan for the Horn of Africa. Representative photo: iStock. To address the devastating drought-induced hunger and malnutrition across the region, World Food Programme has developed a regional drought response plan for the Horn of Africa. Representative photo: iStock.

A sixth consecutive failed rainy season is expected to deepen the drought crisis faced by millions of people in the Greater Horn of Africa (GHA), according to two recent analyses.

As of February 2023, the last five rainy seasons have been deficit and the upcoming one in March-May is expected to be below average, noted a joint statement released by multilateral agencies and another report by REACH, a humanitarian initiative.

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Accra is congested, but relocating Ghana’s capital is not the only option

Accra could keep its political role, but some of its facilities and services should be distributed around the country

Stephen Appiah Takyi, Owusu Amponsah

Down To Earth | February 01, 2023

Capital cities play an important role in the socio-economic development of every country. People generally move to cities where there are opportunities.

Accra, Ghana’s capital, demonstrates this pull effect — and the problems it can create, like congestion and development planning issues.

One of the consequences has been regular flooding, which has claimed lives and property. Over the years, the city authorities have tried to decongest Accra, without success. The city is now demolishing illegal structures, especially those close to waterways.

Some people have suggested that Accra’s congestion problem could be solved if the capital were to be moved to another city. Others disagree.

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Plastic pollution in Nigeria: whose job is it to clean up the mess?

Nigeria’s rivers, lakes and ocean are also full of discarded plastic

Kehinde Allen-Taylor

Down To Earth | February 01, 2023

Take a walk or drive through the streets of most Nigerian cities, and you will see plastic waste everywhere. The country’s rivers, lakes and ocean are also full of discarded plastic. Nigeria is estimated to generate about 2.5 million tonnes of plastic waste annually. Plastic accounts for 15% of the total waste generated in Lagos State.

The situation is likely to worsen as Nigeria’s population grows, from more than 220 million people now to an expected 401 million by the end of 2050.

The production of plastic is growing too. Dangote Refinery, the largest petrochemical refinery in Africa, is starting operations in Nigeria in the first quarter of 2023. Aside from refining fuel, the plant will also produce plastic products.

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OF MSM: BBC and a queen

A Journal of People report

The BBC has disabled comments under a tweet celebrating Queen Elizabeth II’s “longstanding relationship” with Africa after the post drew public outrage, with people calling the tribute a “rebranding of colonialism.”
The post in question was published on Twitter by the BBC’s African arm on Thursday in the wake of the long-serving monarch’s death, and featured a four-and-a-half-minute video celebrating Queen Elizabeth’s relations with Africa and its leaders throughout her 70-year reign.
However, a number of people took issue with the post, stating that the BBC was trying to “rebrand colonialism” by sugarcoating Britain’s rule over Africa, which continued into the late 20th century. In 1980, Zimbabwe became the last African nation to gain independence from the UK.

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Drought Pushes Millions in East Africa To Starvation

Countercurrents | August 19, 2022

In East Africa, millions of people are facing starvation due to drought.

The World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Wednesday that millions of people in East Africa face the threat of starvation.

Speaking at a media briefing in Geneva, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that drought, climate change, rising prices and an ongoing civil war in northern Ethiopia are all contributing to worsening food insecurity.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus:

“Now to the Greater Horn of Africa, where millions of people are facing starvation and disease in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda.

“Drought, conflict, climate change and increasing prices for food, fuel and fertilizer are all contributing to lack of access to sufficient food.

“Hunger and malnutrition pose a direct threat to health, but they also weaken the body’s defenses, and open the door to diseases including pneumonia, measles and cholera.

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