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Monday, July 24, 2017

Kenya ranked ‘least toxic’ and lauded for green energy

A customer buys kerosene in Kibera on November 13 last year / JACK OWUOR
A customer buys kerosene in Kibera on November 13 last year / JACK OWUOR

Kenya has been praised for clean air, consumption of energy production and production of renewable energy.

According to Newsweek media, these factors make Kenya the world’s “least toxic” country — Saudi Arabia is the “most toxic”.

Kenya was followed by Tanzania, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Cameroon, Zambia, Indonesia, Zimbabwe, Brazil and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Uganda and Somalia had no data.

The data was obtained from the International Energy Agency and World Health Organization. Data was used by renewable energy firm The Eco Experts to rank the most toxic countries.

Some countries are not mentioned.

In a report released in September last year, the International Energy Agency praises Kenya for passing a law requiring new buildings to be fitted with solar water heating systems, improving air quality.

“Kenya aims to eliminate kerosene use in households by 2022, and improved biomass cook-stoves are already relatively available in urban areas,” it reads.

The report says the most toxic countries include Saudi Arabia, which recorded the world’shighest air pollution. It was followed by Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE, Oman, Turkmenistan, Libya, Kazakhstan, Trinidad andTobago.

The report further says Africa faces many developmental and environmental challenges rooted in poverty.

This is a source of a grave health burden on the population with air pollution from the energy sector increasingly a leading risk factor, it says.

The report has attributed the deaths to outdoor pollution at more than 210 000 per year in 2012 and are less than half of those attributable to household air pollution.

But the report notes concentrations of outdoor pollution are low in most areas relative to other world regions. “...but the emissions intensity of new economic activity is high,” it says.

The major sources of outdoor air pollution include old and unregulated vehicles, smoke from indoor and outdoor cooking with biomass.

Others are dust from dirt roads, coal-fired power generation and unregulated burning of wood and waste.

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