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Introductory Chapter: Air Quality and Health in Ethiopia

Written By

Tadesse Weyuma Bulto and Birhanu Chalchisa Werku

Submitted: January 13th, 2022 Reviewed: January 18th, 2022 Published: February 26th, 2022

DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.102736

IntechOpen
Air Quality and Health Edited by Ayse Emel Onal

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Air Quality and Health [Working Title]

Prof. Ayse Emel Onal

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1. Introduction

In Ethiopia, people who live in cities with rapid urbanization and high industrialization suffer more from air pollutants. Because in Ethiopia, particularly in cities air pollutants including particulate matter (PM), sulfur dioxide (So2), nitrogen oxide (Nox), Carbon monoxide (CO), and Ozone (O3) often exceed National Ambient Air Quality Standards. When we compared African regions: the population of eastern and western sub-saharan Africa is highly affected, whereas southern and central sub- saharan African province is less affected by air pollution specifically through particulate matter. Air pollution is the main issue for both developing and developed countries. The main source of air pollution in Ethiopia was the open burning of refuse, vehicular emission and traditional practice. Among these open burning is one of the key sources that cause high air pollution in Metropolitan cities like Addis Ababa city. The aim of this work is identifies the effect of air pollution on human health in Ethiopia with associated factors. The accumulation of air pollutants can harm human and ecosystem health in high enough concentrations. The effect of air pollution on human health are irritation of the eyes, coughing, and breathing difficulties, worsening of existing lung and heart problems, asthma and increased risk of a heart attack. Association of air quality and health human is the direct relationship with each other. Moreover, Air quality management plans for developed and developing countries is needed to minimize the air pollution rate and risk of human health.

Air pollution is the largest single environmental risk to health, responsible for an estimated 7 (seven) million premature deaths each year worldwide. Air pollution is an important determinant of health [1]. Air pollution presents a global problem that undermines health and economic productivity. Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) show that 9 out of 10 people breathe air containing high levels of pollutants, middle-income countries (LMICs) bearing the brunt of poor air quality [2]. Principally, open burning of refuse is one of the key sources that cause high air pollution in Metropolitan cities. PM2.5 is harmful to people who are unusually sensitive to particulate pollution and have health problems [3]. Furthermore, vehicle-related particulate matter is the main determinant of air pollution in the urban environment [4].

Particulate matter is both solid particles and liquid droplets found in air atmosphere. There are artificial (man-made) and natural sources of air pollution. Sources of fine particles include motor vehicles, power plants, wood burning, and some industrial processes. The source of coarse particles includes crushing, and dust from paved or unpaved roads [5]. According to different scholars, the main sources of primary fine particles are cars and trucks (diesel engines), open burning, wildfires, woodstoves, outdoor wood boilers, cooking, dust from roads and construction, agricultural operations and coal and oil-burning boilers. Whereas, the main source of secondary fine particles is power plants and some industrial processes, including oil refining and pulp and paper production.

Knowledge of the effects of air pollutants on human health is a prerequisite for the development of effective policies to reduce the adverse impact of ambient air pollution [6]. Due to the health effects of air pollutants, billions of people and animals are die yearly. Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) has been noted as a serious air problem in worldwide in recent decades. People who live in cities with rapid urbanization and high industrialization suffer more from air pollutants. In addition, particulate matter pollution contributes the most to the global burden of diseases in developing countries. The effects of air pollution on human health increase the risk of lung cancer, heart disease, bronchitis, and other cardio respiratory conditions (Figures 1 and 2) [7].

Figure 1.

Effects of Fine Particulate Matter on Human Health.

Figure 2.

DPSIR diagram for particulate matter pollution.

Air quality is a concern in Ethiopia, particularly in cities and air pollutants such as particulate matter (PM), sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), and ozone (O3) often exceed the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). Daily records, with a 1-hour interval, of the raw concentration of air pollutants and air quality index data, were obtained from the AirNow website of Addis Ababa central monitoring station.

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2. Effect of air pollution on human and ecosystem health

There is long-term and long-term effect of air pollution on human health. Some of the short-term effects of air pollution are irritation of eyes, nose, throat, coughing and breathing difficulties. The long-term effects of air pollution can cause cancer and damage immune, reproductive, and respiratory systems. In extreme cases, it can even cause death.

The daily mean concentration of PM2.5 was 42.4 μg/m3. A total of 502 deaths (4.44%) were attributable to current air pollution levels referenced to the 35 μg/m3 WHO interim target annual level and 2043 (17.7%) at the WHO 10 μg/m3 annual guideline [8]. There are different estimates sources emission estimations; from vehicular sources (28%), biomass burning (18.3%), plus soil dust (17.4%) comprise about two-thirds of the mass PM2.5 , followed by sulfate (6.5%) [9].

There are different concentrations of particulate matter emission per day’s maxima around 7:00 and secondary peaks in the late afternoon and evening, suggesting that those pollutants were emitted during periods associated with motor-vehicle traffic, food preparation, and heating of homes. During the morning concentration maxima were likely accentuated by stable atmospheric conditions associated with inversions of the with overnight surface temperature inversions [10]. Air contamination influenced the human health and environmental well-being of the ecosystem. Particulate matter is a series of issues from major air pollutants in the atmosphere [11].

When we compared African regions: the population of Eastern and Western Sub-Saharan Africa is highly affected, whereas Southern and Central Sub- Saharan African province is less affected by air pollution specifically through particulate matter (Table 1). Due to the fact that this resulted in many scientific pieces of evidence, priorities should be given to air quality management should be prioritized management to improve the human and environmental health of ecosystems and reduce the global burden of disease of African provinces [11].

S.NRegion and countryPopulation affectedAvoided deaths (total)95% CI% of baseline mortalityDeaths per 100,000Avoided deaths (% population)Economic benefits (2011 US)Avoided life years lost
1Central sub-Saharan Africa40,000,00098007700–12,0005.683024.620.02464,100,000,0009500
2Eastern sub-Saharan Africa150,000,00028,00022,000–34,0004.252218.530.01853,400,000,00028,000
3Southern sub-Saharan Africa37,000,00077006100–94005.070620.690.02076,500,000,0009400
4Western sub-Saharan Africa140,000,00026,00021,000–32,0004.294818.220.01825,300,000,00021,000

Table 1.

The population exposed to air pollution of Africa provinces, avoided death, percent of baseline mortality, deaths per 100,000 population, economic benefits and avoided life years lost.

The health risk of air pollution was developed for a variety of policy scenarios, using different methodologies, spatial and temporal scales [12]. Air pollution is a serious health and environmental problem. Poor air quality has been linked to numerous diseases and is a significant public health issue related to urban planning [13]. Ethiopian face quality of life and livelihood challenges associated with sub-optimal sanitation, dependence on biomass energy, and decreasing agricultural productivity [14]. Detailed knowledge on the effects of air pollutants on human health is a prerequisite for the development of effective policies to reduce the adverse impact of ambient air pollution (Figure 2) [15].

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3. Conclusions

Air pollution is the largest determinants of environment and ecosystem health, causes mortality and morbidity. Furthermore, air pollution was not local issue rather than global issue. It was trans- boundary problem and affects the venerable groups rather than other communities. Many Ethiopians cities face quality of life and livelihood challenges associated with sub-optimal sanitation, dependence on biomass energy, and decreased agricultural productivity. In addition, all countries will need an air quality management plan and strategy of air pollution reduction.

References

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Written By

Tadesse Weyuma Bulto and Birhanu Chalchisa Werku

Submitted: January 13th, 2022 Reviewed: January 18th, 2022 Published: February 26th, 2022