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Air pollution is one of the leading causes of death around the world. But which African cities and countries are the most polluted in the continent? IQ Air analyzed 2021 air pollution data for major cities from 106 countries around the world to produce the 2020 World Air Quality index⁣

In what can be considered a warning sign for countries in Southern Africa and the rest of Africa, 11 out of 15 most polluted cities on the continent were located in South Africa alone, according to the latest data from IQAir.⁣

As per the rankings, the city of Bamako in Mali was the most polluted city in Africa, followed by Sebokeng in South Africa and Accra, Ghana in third place.⁣

As per IQAir’s 2020 air quality index, South Africa’s heavy reliance on coal-based energy and other fossil fuels, comprising 91% of the country’s energy mix (one of the highest rates in the world), is a major source of ambient particle pollution. The report noted that the government has done little to regulate emissions from coal-fired plants, even as they fail to comply with comparatively loose emission standards.⁣

Let’s examine the table below to see the top 15 most polluted regional cities in Africa 2020⁣

Top 15 Most Polluted Regional Cities in Africa 2020⁣
1. Bamako, Mali – 37.9µg/m3⁣

2. Sebokeng, South Africa – 29.5µg/m3⁣

3. Accra, Ghana – 26.9µg/m3⁣

4. Vereeniging, South Africa – 26.5µg/m3⁣

5. Kampala, Uganda – 26.1µg/m3⁣

6. Soshanguve, South Africa – 26.0µg/m3⁣

7. Sasolburg, South Africa – 25.6µg/m3⁣

8. Pretoria, South Africa – 24.4µg/m3⁣

9. Springs, South Africa – 24.4µg/m3⁣

10. Midstream, South Africa – 23.3µg/m3⁣

11. Ga-Rankuwa, South Africa – 22.5µg/m3⁣

12. Johannesburg, South Africa – 22.3µg/m3⁣

13. Abidjan, Ivory Coast – 21.9µg/m3⁣

14. Secunda, South Africa – 21.8µg/m3⁣

15. Hartbeespoort, South Africa – 20.8µg/m3⁣

According to the report, South Africa recently struck a climate financing deal to move away from coal thermal power stations but is already among the biggest polluters in the world.⁣

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