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Africa: Now the Dumping ground for Old Cars

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We are sure you love driving. However, how would you feel if the older cars of yesteryear were being dumped to where you live? All because you live in a country that doesn’t follow as strict a regulation as many other countries who are more stringent when it comes to enforcing environmental regulations.

With European standards for emissions become stricter due to the declining quality of air, cars that are older than twenty-five years can no longer meet the criteria for emissions in Europe. It is these cars that are then being exported to the countries in Africa that are suffering a fall in air quality as a result. This has become one of the primary causes of respiratory problems in Africa.

While a lot of African countries have a limit on how old a car can be to be imported into the country, this hasn’t stopped exporters from exporting vehicles that are as old as 25 years to the continent. Studies have shown that Japan and the USA lead the export of cars to Africa at 15% while China and Germany follow as close seconds at 14%.

These low-quality cars coupled with poor quality of fuel due to lack of purchasing power have led to extreme air pollution in the countries of the African continent. The World Health Organization has reported that over 15,000 children aged below five years died every day in 2016 due to problems with their respiratory systems.

The Dieselgate scandal in 2015 was just the tip of the iceberg as it was proved that German car manufacturer Volkswagen has intentionally programmed their software to show fewer emissions than what is the actual value. In fact, the emissions went almost 40% higher than what was being claimed by the company.

This led to the strengthening of laws regarding fuel emissions in the European nations and kind of doomed Africa’s air quality for now. More importantly, because of the scandal, costs of old and used cars actually plummeted, and this has, in turn, led to legal as well as illegal trade of these cars into the poorer countries of Africa where government controls over emission are not that strong.

Many African, as well as other global bodies that specialize on the well being of the environment, have warned that transportation is as of now becoming the primary source of air pollution in the continent. This includes emission in the form of chemicals, Greenhouse gases and many other toxic air pollutants.

Air pollution in African countries has also increased their risk of cancer. This is because most of these countries have not yet adopted the Euro 4 standards which are mandatory for European Nations to help combat air pollution.

However, not all is doom and gloom as eleven countries in Africa have now adopted a sulfur fuel standard of 50ppm. Many bodies are also trying to bring about fuel standards on the continent. However, only strict enforcement will make sure that these laws actually work.



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