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Controlling Air Pollution In Africa Would Reap Economic, Health Benefits

Financial Times: Cleaning up Africa’s air would pay for itself in economic gains
Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa

“…Pollution is a silent and invisible killer, slowly eroding health for years before afflictions become apparent, unlike malaria or diarrhea where symptoms show up within months or even days. Children who have been exposed to dirty air may be at greater risk of chronic disease, which can cast a shadow over their entire life. The financial impact is unmistakable but, like the health costs, it is often ignored. … The economic benefits from controlling pollution in terms of efficiency and productivity gains often significantly outweigh the costs. … The way forward for Africa is no different from that anywhere else. Cities need cleaner energy, transportation, waste management, and industrial activity. People need cleaner energy sources for cooking, heating, and lighting. Governments need to monitor air quality to gauge the impact of reforms, and then adjust policies as needed. … It is time to move forward boldly, and we cannot do so holding our breath” (11/1).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.