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17,524 Ghanaians died from Air Pollution in 2013


Our attention was drawn to an article posted on THE GUARDIAN about the dumping of low quality fuel on the African market by some foreign oil companies. The quality of the oil sold to African countries by these companies is way below that which is sold to European countries.

According to these companies, they have done no wrong. This is because they claim ‘…they comply with the fuel standards imposed by the governments they ship to’. Should we shift the blame to African governments instead of these companies? Are we to assume that it is not a matter of foreign oil companies selling cheap quality and hazardous oil to us, but rather a matter of our governments setting low standards for the oil they import? Cheap quality oil is dangerous to the health of citizens. According to the article on THE GUARDIAN

When the fuel is burned, the sulphur is released into the atmosphere as sulphur dioxide and other compounds that are major contributors to respiratory diseases such as bronchitis and asthma.

This basically means it is no longer a matter of our governments merely settling for less quality oil, but it is now a matter that puts the health of citizens at risk. If cheap quality oil that is processed into fuel can cause deadly respiratory diseases, why haven’t African Governments raise the standards for the oil they buy? According to the World Bank, air pollution is the 4th leading cause of premature deaths in the world. This is alarming because vehicle emissions are a significant contributor to air pollution. Since the fuel we use in our vehicles are made from cheap quality oil, the fumes emitted - which are deadly - float in the air for people to unknowingly inhale. In 2013 alone, about 17,524 people died in Ghana because of Air Pollution according to a report published by the World Bank and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).

Below is an interactive data visualization, detailing the number of people who have died from Air Pollution in some African Countries in the years 1990 and 2013.