Stark increase in particulate matter concentration in African cities.
Even today, air pollution in African cities is a serious problem. A large part of the damaging particulate matter in the air is generated by cars. Although in relative terms, Africa has fewer cars than Europe, toxic emissions are higher because the fuel contains vastly more sulphur that causes particulate matter.
Serious consequences for people’s health.
High levels of air pollution have serious consequences for human health. Respiratory diseases are one of the main reasons why people in Accra, Ghana, are hospitalized. Unless the sulphur content of fuels in Africa is lowered dramatically, an estimated 31,000 people will die prematurely in 2030. That is three times the number of deaths caused by traffic-related air pollution in Europe, the US and Japan combined. Countless people will suffer from cardio-vascular diseases and cancer.
Sulphur levels close to 400 times higher than in Switzerland.
Fuel standards in most parts of Africa are much weaker than in Europe. Public Eye collected samples from eight countries to find out how much sulphur the locally available diesel actually contains. The result is shocking: the sulphur content was up to 378 times higher than the European limit. We also found other health damaging substances such as benzene or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in concentrations not permitted in Europe.
Swiss commodity trading companies are dominating the dirty fuel business.
Swiss commodity trading companies like market leader Trafigura dominate the dirty business with toxic fuels for Africa. They supply the fuels, distribute and sell them locally through their own network of petrol stations and even produce the dirty mixtures themselves. They have no interest in improved regulatory standards because their profit margins depend on their ability to exploit weak African standards to the fullest.
It’s high time we fought back jointly.
While the business model of the Swiss commodity traders is legal, their actions are clearly illegitimate and violate human rights because their profit comes at the expense of the health of millions of Africans. Africans have the same right to health as the rest of us.
Join us in putting an end to this unjust business model.