Air Pollution ‘Becoming More Deadly’

By Mhret G/Kristos

ADDIS ABEBA – Air pollution is becoming more deadly with over 12,000 Ethiopians losing their lives annually, a senior government official on the environment said on Thursday.

The latest figure was revealed in an event that marks the international pollution day in Ethiopia.

Head of State Forests & Climate Change Commission, Meseret Abdise said there are little or no researches regarding environmental and social assessments of air pollution.

“Ethiopian universities are not working much (on this area) except Jimma University,” said Meseret told participants at the event held at Addis Abeba University’s Arat Killo Campus.

According to the commission, the solid waste management system in Ethiopia is very poor while the number of old vehicles is more than the new ones.

The low level of awareness among the public does not help either, he said, adding the challenge related to air pollution is even bigger in the capital.

Almost 60% of old cars are in Addis Abeba due to high taxes to import new vehicles to the country.

“We can reduce pollution by planting trees but, not only planting and (also) protecting what we plant,” said Samba Harola, head of UNEP liaison office to Africa union.

According to UNEP, Ethiopia is one of the 10 countries affected by air pollution. Around 85% of Ethiopians live in the rural part of the country where the use of traditional stoves popular.

“Mostly Ethiopia is affected by indoor pollution because of the use of a traditional stove,” said Andualem Mekonnen (Ph.D.), environment science lecturer at Addis Abba University. Ethiopia is currently constructing seven new pollution monitoring centers in the capital.