Deteriorating air quality in tropical cities poses growing threats to people’s health, and as urbanization progresses, this trend will only worsen, scientists warn.
In a recently published study, a team of researchers explains that in the 46 cities studied from Africa to Asia, they measured significant annual increases in pollutants dangerous to health, including nitrogen dioxide and PM2 particles. ,5.
This trend is worrying because tropical cities regularly lack adequate air pollution control measures and adequate policies to address the problem.
“These cities are expected to grow to populations of up to 80 million by 2100, so regulatory action targeting emerging anthropogenic sources is urgently needed,” the scientists stress.
The number of people dying prematurely due to prolonged exposure to air pollution is on the rise, with people living in cities in South Asia being the hardest hit. In Dhaka, Bangladesh, some 24,000 people die each year from these causes, while around 100,000 people die in the Indian cities of Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chennai, Surat, Pune and Ahmedabad.
The death toll in Africa’s tropical cities is even lower “due to recent improvements in medical care across the continent that have led to a decline in overall premature mortality, [pero] the worst health effects of air pollution are likely to occur in decades to come,” the scientists say.
The multiple causes of deteriorating air quality
The reasons for the deterioration of air quality in tropical cities lie in the increase in road traffic, the burning of waste and the widespread use of charcoal and firewood. The industry is also partly responsible.
“In the past, open burning of biomass for land clearing and agricultural waste disposal has overwhelmingly dominated air pollution in the tropics,” says Karn Vohra, a scientist at the University College of London and author of the study.
“Our analysis suggests we are entering a new era of air pollution in these cities, with some experiencing rates of degradation in a year that other cities experience in a decade,” Vohra warns.
By Daniel T. Cross. Articles in English