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Environmental Issues in Sub-Saharan Africa

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Submitted By joeyhudack
Words 3046
Pages 13
Joey Hudack
BIO102 Environment and People
Dr. Mike Mooring
09 December 2015
Indoor Air Pollution in Sub-Saharan Africa
Environmental pollution is a major topic and a major global challenge that has become very popular over the last few decades. Air pollution has specifically gained major interests from researchers, governments, and international organizations due to the major impacts associated with it. When a topic such as air pollution is mentioned, most of the people will automatically link it to the idea of things like smog, power plants and emissions from vehicles. However, these are considered examples of outdoor air pollutants. There exists another class of pollutants, which pollute the air inside the houses. These are called indoor air pollutants. Indoor air pollution is when the indoor pollutants or things such as gases and particles contaminate the air indoors. Indoor air pollution refers to the pollution of the air inside the houses or the living spaces. It is the presence of one or more contaminants indoor that carry a certain degree of health risks. The sub-Saharan Africa is among the regions in the world that have been highly affected by indoor air pollution. The aim of this document is to discuss the challenge of indoor air pollution in the region of sub-Saharan Africa. Solid fuel is the major source of this indoor air pollution and particle suspension in the air of these homes. In this region where the population is too poor to be able to afford more efficient and sustainable or less hazardous fuel sources, they are forced to rely on hazardous sources. Solid fuels come in many forms but all carry inherent health risks. Dung from livestock is flammable but releases carbon and even toxins when burned. Charcoal is any previously charred organic material and is effective but has a very high carbon release value when combusted. Wood from trees and leftovers from crops or other harvests are often viewed as cleaner but because of it’s moisture content, it produces plumes of smoke that can suffocate the occupants of a home. Wood and crop residuals also burn much more rapidly and less efficiently that previously charred material so more mass of wood must be used. Coal is sometimes used but not very often in developing countries as it is more expensive or harder to gather with the primitive technologies in these regions. Most of these are burned indoor either in open fires or in poorly functioning stoves and cookers. Solid fuels can be burned in many ways. Many homes simply use the open fire technique or the fire pit technique which consist of just burning the fuel on the ground of a home usually encompassed by rocks or in a shallow hole dug into the ground so it is surrounded by earth matter. Rocks or metal grates are also used with this method to support the pot or cooking implement. Another example of solid fuel consumption is with “rocket stove” or other chimney possessing stove/furnace. The purpose is to try to force the particulate out of the chimney and out of the home. Unfortunately there must be an opening to the flame on which to place the cookware which leaves gaps for smoke and particulate to enter the residence. The last and most efficient, least detrimental, method is to use a personal solid fuel stove. Examples include forced air stoves and the “jiko” stove which combust biomass more thoroughly and efficiently but still do not solve the problem of smoke and particulate which is the major scope of this research. Indoor air pollutants have been identified to be the cause of thousands of deaths each year as well as a considerable number of diseases and illnesses every year. The cases are even worse in the developing nations as most of the population rely on the use of solid fuel for cooking and lighting purposes. According to Bruce, Perez-Padilla and Albalak (1078), 50% of all the people in the world, mainly composed of people in the developing countries, rely on the use of coal and biomass for domestic energy and approximately 90% of the rural households in the developing countries rely on these fuels from unprocessed biomass. The results are that the air in the houses is highly polluted leading to exposure mainly to women and young children. Those there have been reports that the use of fuels from biomass fell from 50% in the year 1900 to 13% in 2000, reports now show that the rate of using biomass fuels among the poor in the society.
Global Impact of Indoor Air Pollution Indoor air pollution has been regarded and described by numerous health practitioners, scholars, researchers and environmentalists as leading causes of some of the deadly respiratory diseases and infections in the world. Health practitioners have explained that they have evidence linking indoor air pollution to serious diseases such as pneumonia, bronchitis, heart diseases, asthma, some cases of cancers among other infections. Combustion is a chemical reaction and solid fuels do not easily undergo “complete combustion”. In complete combustion carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen disassociate and bond in to new molecules which results in expulsion of only carbon dioxide(CO2) and water(H2O). Complete combustion is still detrimental to the environment as it as a major source of the CO2 found in the greenhouse portion of the environment. Incomplete combustion is even worse as it not only expels CO2 but any other toxins found in the fuel source as well. The other major impact of indoor air pollution is that it contributes in a large degree to the environmental air pollution which has been linked to many challenges such as global warming and changes in the climatic condition of many places. The following discussion explains these two main impacts of indoor air pollution. The issues of indoor air pollution are of concern on a global scale. According to Duflo and Greenstone (2), indoor air pollution as caused by solid fuels and the use of traditional cooking stoves is a threat to the global health, specifically for women and the young children. IAP is also responsible for approximately 2.7% of the loss of the disability adjusted life years (DALYs) on a worldwide scale with the rate increasing to 3.7% in the developing countries which are characterized by high rate of mortality. According to a research that was conducted by Ezeh, Agho, Dibley, Hall and Page (2-10) to determine whether the children in Nigeria that reside in the households that used solid fuels were at a high risk for their health, approximately 0.8% of the neonatal deaths, 42.9% of the postnatal deaths, and 36.3% of the deaths of children could be attributed to the use of solid fuels. The exposure to and the high concentration of indoor air pollutants in the developing countries has been attributed as one of the main causes of the high morbidity and mortality in the developing countries, especially in the sub-Saharan Africa. The exposure has been implicated, with different and varying degrees of evidence, as a major causal agent of numerous diseases in the developing world such as the acute respiratory infections (ARI), otitis media, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer, asthma, tuberculosis, diseases of the eyes such as cataracts and blindness among others. According to the World Health Organization (2002), indoor air pollution has been ranked fourth in terms of the risk factors that contribute to diseases and deaths of people. The health effects resulting from indoor air pollution may either be short-term or long-term. Short term problems include a stuffy, odorous environment and symptoms such as burning eyes, skin irritation and headaches. The long-term health problems have long periods of latency or are chronic in nature. The magnitude and the duration of detrimental and long-term health impacts of indoor air pollution depends on the time of exposure to the contaminants, the concentration of the contaminants, presence of a pre-existing unhealthy condition and in many instances the age of the individual. The connections between indoor climate and the global climate change are strong but have not been highly recognized among the researchers and the environmentalists. However, research from numerous researchers has explicitly explained that the connections between climate change and indoor climate are inextricably linked (Levin 1). Though the connection is often overlooked by environmentalists and policy makers, the linkage between indoor climate and global climate change is strong and requires and warrants more attention than is currently offered by the researchers for the global climate change and researchers of indoor climate. Though on low amounts and at a lower rate, indoor air pollution is considered one of the main sources of pollutants that have contributed to the global change of climate, since there are far more people worldwide that can’t afford better fuels than there are people worldwide that can afford to own an automobile, the Carbon-Dioxide released from solid fuel combustion is far greater than the levels of Carbon-Dioxide emissions from the transportation industry. The pollutants in the houses finally get their way out of the houses and join the pollutants from the other sources such as industrial emissions to cause the environmental air pollution. Finally, the collection of solid fuels such as biomass and firewood is a time consuming process. For the people who are collecting, most of them being women and young children, the time it takes to collect enough fuel can be considerably high. This normally takes children away from productive tasks such as attending schools or conducting private studies at home. The time taken by parents could also be used in carrying out childcare activities and potentially income generating activities.
Regional analysis Most of the countries in the sub-Saharan Africa are developing nations. As compared to the developed world, indoor air pollution is in high levels in the developing countries and thus is a major environmental and health concern to the residents of the developing countries. Many of the countries in the sub-Saharan Africa are in their earliest stages of development and the development of environmental governance structures; laws and regulations are virtually non-existent yet. According to (3), approximately 575 million people, all residing in the sub-Saharan Africa and approximately 76% of the total population in the region, depend on traditional biomass as the primary source of energy. The biggest source of the biomass energy in the region is wood-fuel but in some instances and locations, agricultural residues and waste from animals are used where wood-fuel is not available. As discussed above, the largest population in the region uses either firewood or charcoal for energy. The rural areas are highly characterized with the use of firewood while the urban areas are characterized by the use of charcoal as the main source of energy. The reason behind the high use of firewood in the rural areas is due to its low cost and the lack of available alternatives. The use of firewood in the urban areas varies greatly according to the different factors such as the cost as well as the availability of alternatives. Actually, the use of firewood in the sub-Saharan region has developed into somewhat of a gender issue, as only women spend much of their time collecting the firewood for their use in preparing food or sterilizing water for their families or spouses.
The wood fuels that most of the African countries use is a major source of indoor air pollution. The incomplete, ineffective and inefficient combustion of the wood-fuels releases numerous hazardous compounds into the environment, mainly indoors in the sub-Saharan region. Some of these pollutants include Carbon Monoxide, Sulphur dioxide, and oxides of nitrogen as well as particulate particles. According to Bruce as cited by Schlag and Zuzarte (8), the poor ventilation in most sub-Saharan homes exacerbates the impacts and the effects of the pollutants, and women and children are often exposed to the pollutants at considerable levels for about three to seven hours on daily basis. According to Bailis et al. as cited by Schlag and Zuzarte (9), if the pattern for energy use for household cooking does not change, it is estimated that 9.8 million premature deaths will occur by 2030 from diseases that are attributed to indoor air pollution. There are mainly two major ways to intervene with the cause of this problem. As have been discussed above, most of the countries are developing meaning that most of them are poor and that the level of education and literacy is still very low. Among the major interventions that have proved to be effective and efficient towards the reduction of indoor air pollution in the sub-Saharan Africa include the provision of enough funding to projects that enhance and educate on the advantages of using clean energy sources and improving the education of the people in the region. The largest reduction in the amount of indoor air pollution can however be achieved through the change from using biomass fuels to cleaner and more efficient and effective sources of energy and energy technologies. These include sources such as liquid petroleum gas, biogas, electricity and solar power. A research that was conducted by Barnes, Mathee and Thomas (35-44) showed that the use of these forms of energy sources lead to a significant reduction in the amount of indoor air pollution and thus a reduced risk of children and women to diseases attributed to indoor air pollution. However, this are problems that are of a monetary source. The only thing that can solve the absence of clean fuels in these areas is the improvement of the infrastructure to be able to supply each home with fuels. Funding this would be analogous to funding a solution to solve world hunger. There is simply not enough economic support in these areas or from outside supporters to supply the population with this solution. Another major intervention to reduce the rate of indoor air pollution is increased public education. As discussed above, the level of education and literacy among the people in the sub-Saharan Africa is still very low. This means that most of the people do not understand the dangers that exist with the use of solid fuels. Public education becomes of a significant importance intervention plan for reducing the amount of indoor air pollution. According to Barnes (2014), a dominant theme in the indoor air pollution/behavioral change literature is that health education may be of sufficient use of elicit behavioral change towards reduction of indoor air pollution. There is need to enhance calls for public health awareness, education programs, parental education, maternal and childcare education towards the reduction of indoor air pollution and exposure of children. Another case study of educating the population was performed by The ITDG Smoke and Health Project (7) performed data collection of the amount of particulate and smoke inside of a dwelling while the family used traditional methods of fuel consumption outlined previously then compared it to data collected after performing many educational processes and forums with the local population. They trained them on how to build better chimney systems to direct smoke outdoors and how to increase window size to improve draft and ventilation of the home. They got all members of the community involved, even the men showed up to info sessions, to improve their education on home building and cooking methods. The helped the families optimize window size to allow clean air in and force particulate out. They also helped them install vent hoods to remove as much particulate from cooking as possible which applied mostly to families that were still using the open fire technique outline previously. The particulate data was analyzed and it was found that their efforts helped to reduce respirable particles by 75% and carbon monoxide by 77% inside the home. Unfortunately, their efforts did nothing to mitigate the global impact these families had on pollution but that was outside of the scope of their research and as stated previously, it would be near impossible for a small group to improve the infrastructure or fuel reliance of these families. It as found that more time was spent in the kitchen cooking after the education process due to the improvement of air quality indoors. The improvements made to the air quality allowed women of the community to be able to bare to spend more time in the kitchen rather than having to limit their use as previously was a requirement for them.
As have been discussed above, indoor air pollution is a worldwide problem with the developing countries as the most affected regions. Immediate attention is required to reduce this form of pollution before the level moves to the critical levels. The reduction of indoor air pollution is not the responsibility of the government but requires the collaboration of all of the public.

Works Cited
Barnes, Brendon, Angela Mathee, and Elizabeth Thomas. 'The Impact Of Health Behaviour Change Intervention On Indoor Air Pollution Indicators In The Rural North West Province, South Africa'. Journal of Energy in Southern Africa 22.3 (2011): 35-44. Print.
Barnes, Brendon. 'Behavioural Change, Indoor Air Pollution And Child Respiratory Health In Developing Countries: A Review'. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 11.5 (2015): 4607–4618. Web. 9 Dec. 2015.
Bruce, Nigel, Rogelio Perez-Padilla, and Rachel Albalak. 'Indoor Air Pollution In Developing Countries: A Major Environmental And Public Health Challenge'. Bulletin of the World Health Organization 78.9 (2000): 1078-1092. Print.
Duflo, Esther, Michael Greenstone, and Rema Hanna. 'Indoor Air Pollution, Health And Economic Well-Being'. 1.1 (2008): 1-22. Print.
Ezeh, Osita Kingsley et al. 'The Effect Of Solid Fuel Use On Childhood Mortality In Nigeria: Evidence From The 2013 Cross-Sectional Household Survey'. Environmental Health 13.113 (2014): 2-10. Print.
Levin, Hal. 'Indoor Climate And Global Climate Change: Exploring Connections'. Indoor Air 2008 (2008): 1-8. Print.
WHO, ed. ‘The World Health Report 2002: Reducing Risks, Promoting Healthy Life’. Geneva, World Health Organization (2002). Print., ITDG -. "Kenya Smoke and Health Project 1998-2001." Reducing Indoor Air Polluction in Rural Households in Kenya (2001): n. pag. 2001. Web. 1 Dec. 2015.…...

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...Introduction The objective of this paper is to explore the role of development finance in economic development in Sub-Saharan Africa. Development Finance is practice of using scarce financial resources in an unconventional ways in order to advance economic activity(ies). According to (Nyembezi, 2009), development finance makes the economy run smoothly and effectively. The aim of the development finance is to look at the challenges and design the framework as well as stimulating core activities that will develop the economic growth. As stated by (Nyembezi, 2009) development finance, in an economy, can be compared to oil in a vehicle engine that ensures its sound and smooth operation. According to (Ocran, 2012), development finance is concerned with the financing of development at: • Household level • Firm level • Geographical area/national/regional level This paper looks at the role of development finance at national and regional level in economic development in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (2002) defines development finance officially as funding “used in measuring the inflow of resources to recipient countries: including (a) bilateral official development assistance (ODA), (b) grants and concessional and non-concessional development lending by multilateral financial institutions, and (c) Other Official Flows for development purposes (including refinancing Loans) which have too low a Grant Element to qualify as......

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