West Africa’s air pollution is reaching dangerously high levels—and we don’t know the worst of it
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
In Lagos, smog has quickly become another aspect of city life. In the city of more than 21 million people – known to some as “Africa’s first city” – the majority of residents live near industrial plants, breathing in exhaust from thousands of cars and millions of generators providing power to the city. In 2013, 25 secondary school students suffered concussions after inhaling fumes from a nearby plant.
Air pollution in fast-growing West African cities is reaching dangerous levels. But the worst part, according to a new study published by Nature magazine this week, is that we know almost nothing about the pollutants emerging from these new urban centers and their impact on weather systems, crops, and public health at large. There’s little monitoring of pollution, no emissions inventories, or statistical information on things like fuel consumption. Researchers say that they struggle to find funding to study the issue.