Accra is the 3rd most polluted city in Africa, according to the 2020 World Air Quality Report, published by Swiss firm, IQAir. The Malian capital, Bamako, topped the list of most polluted African cities, with the air quality there considered “unhealthy for sensitive groups”.
Sebokeng in South Africa followed in the 2nd position.
The city of Vereeniging in South Africa is 4th, while Kampala in Uganda is 5th, followed by the South African cities of Soshanguve, Sasolburg, Pretoria, Springs, Midstream and Ga-Rankuwa and Johannesburg in 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th respectively. 11 South African cities were among the top 15 most polluted cities in West Africa.
Abidjan was ranked 13th most polluted city in Africa and 3rd in West Africa. The report which excluded cities in Nigeria, however, did not measure the economic impact of pollution on the respective cities and countries.
According to the report, the severity of air pollution in Africa and its resulting health impact is difficult to quantify, as air quality data is limited.
For most regional locations, the report said insights must be inferred from satellite data. By this method, it is estimated that air pollution claims up to 780,000 African lives annually.
In 2020 alone, the report said the Africa region’s air quality monitoring network grew across five new countries (Senegal, Mali, Ivory Coast, Madagascar, and Kenya) and 10 new cities.
However, data in the region remains sparse.
41 African countries, the report noted, lack air quality monitoring data, leaving nearly a billion people without the information necessary to make important health decisions.
South Africa is the only African country with a public, real-time governmental air quality monitoring network.
Data for every other country in the report is supplied by either U.S. State Department monitors or non-governmental monitors, contributed by individuals and organsations.