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Air pollution in Nigeria gets worse amid lack of air quality data and exposure information


By Muntaka Chasant | 770 words | Reading time: 3 min





Air Pollution in Kano, Nigeria 

Credit: Muntaka Chasant | Kano, Nigeria | 2011




Kano, the capital of Kano State, one of Nigeria’s northern states, is the most polluted city in Africa, according to data released by IQAir AirVisual and Greenpeace.1 The report did not cite sources of air pollution in the city.


Air pollution remains a leading risk factor for premature death in Nigeria. More than 100,000 deaths in Nigeria in 2016 were linked to air pollution, estimates from the Health Effects Institute (HEI) and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) show.


Air pollution in Nigeria is driven by population growth and rapid urbanization in cities such as Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt. 


Air Pollution in Lagos, Nigeria 

Credit: Muntaka Chasant | Lagos, Nigeria | 2011

Air Pollution in Nigeria | Old cars 

Credit: Muntaka Chasant | Lagos, Nigeria | 2011


Nigeria's dirty is characterized by exhaust from dirty old cars, road dust, smoke from residential trash burning, and charcoal, wood & kerosene cookstoves used very widely.


Nearly 65,000 deaths linked to air pollution in Nigeria in 2016 were due to inhaling toxic fumes from kerosene and biomass-fuelled cookstoves, figures from the HEI and the IHME reveal.




Stateofglobalair.org ATCMASK

Source: Stateofglobalair.org


The plots above show Nigeria’s air pollution-related deaths between 1990 and 2016. This was higher than in any country in Africa.




Stateofglobalair.com ATCMASK

Source: Stateofglobalair.org

The plots above show indoor air pollution related-deaths in Nigeria between 1990 and 2016.




Only four cities in Africa were included in the 2018 World Air Quality Report: Kano and Port Harcourt in Nigeria, Kampala in Uganda and Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. This is because Africa suffers from a serious lack of accessible air quality monitoring data.


Data for WHO 2016 Global Particulate Matter (PM) measurements was identified for only 8 of 47 countries in Africa.2 Many developing cities do not measure the air they breathe.


Drawn from real-time governmental air quality monitoring sources and selected privately operated IQAir AirVisual nodes, the 2018 World Air Quality Report provides an overview of the average PM2.5 by cities in 2018.


According to the report, Kano’s air was more than 10 times above the maximum limits recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) - 53.4 micrograms per cubic meter [μg/m3] of ultra-fine particles of 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter which are linked to stroke, lung cancer, heart disease and respiratory infections.


See also: Air Pollution in Nigeria: Causes, Effects and Solutions


See also: Particulate Matter (PM2.5 and PM10) Basics


The WHO recommended annual guideline for PM2.5 is 5 μg/m3.


Onitsha, a city in southern Nigeria, was once rated the most polluted city in the world by the WHO



Kampala, Uganda’s capital, has Africa's second worst air, followed by Port Harcourt, Nigeria, and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, according to the IQAir AirVisual and Greenpeace report.


Overall, Nigeria was ranked the 10th most polluted country in the world by an estimated average PM2.5 concentration of 44.8μg/m3, worse than Mainland China, which ranks number 12 on the pollution chart.


Seven of the ten worst polluted cities were in India. Gurugram, a city just outside India’s capital New Delhi, had the worst air globally in 2018.


Air pollution steals our livelihoods and our futures, but we can change that. In addition to human lives lost, there’s an estimated global cost of 225 billion dollars in lost labour, and trillions in medical costs. This has enormous impacts, on our health and on our wallets. We want this report to make people think about the air we breathe, because when we understand the impacts of air quality on our lives, we will act to protect what’s most important.” Said, Yeb Sano, Executive Director of Greenpeace South East Asia.


Air pollution is linked to 7 million premature deaths worldwide every year, including 600,000 children, with Asia and Africa worst impacted.


You can download the 2018 World Air Quality Report Region & City PM2.5 Ranking by IQAir AirVisual and Greenpeace here.



See also: Agbogbloshie and Air Pollution in Accra, Ghana


Agbogbloshie - A short film



See also: Air Pollution in Kenya: Causes, Effects and Solutions


See also: Air Pollution in Uganda: Causes, Effects and Solutions


See also: Air Pollution in Ghana: Causes, Effects and Solutions


See also: Videos and Photos of Agbogbloshie, Ghana


See also: "Urban mining" and Air Pollution in Accra, Ghana




Please leave your comments below, and let us know what you think!









1. https://www.airvisual.com/world-most-polluted-cities/world-air-quality-report-2018-en.pdf (Retrieved March, 2019)
2. https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/02-05-2018-9-out-of-10-people-worldwide-breathe-polluted-air-but-more-countries-are-taking-action (Retrieved March, 2019)








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Comments (2)

  • Dr. Olukemi

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  • Ellis

    @Dr. Olukemi

    Thanks for the feedback. You can reach out to us via the contact form.


    ATC MASK Support Team

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