Top Worst Air Polluted Cities in West Africa.3 min read

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Most cities in West Africa are particularly not known for high hygiene level, however to further worsen the fragile states of the environment of these cities, billions of tiny harmful particulates are released into the atmosphere resulting to several respiratory ailments and endangering the well-being of those residing in these cities.

Recently, the global health body, World Health Organization (WHO) published the top worst polluted twenty cities in the world with four West African Cities making it to the top of the list. The Nigerian Cities of Onitsha, Aba, Kaduna and Umuahia have been found to be notorious in terms of emitting harmful substances into the environment and particularly the atmosphere. These four crowded cities located in the south eastern and northern part of Nigeria respectively contributes over 2000 levels of particulate matter into the atmosphere annually. Let’s take a look at the positions of these West African cities in the recent released list of worst air polluted cities globally.


Onitsha – 1st Position
Kaduna – 5th Position
Aba – 6th Position
Umuahia -16th Position

The 20th city on the WHO top 20 worst polluted cities is Boshehr in Iran. Onitsha is one of the biggest cities in eastern part of Nigeria known for its rigorous commercial activities. Apart from the emission of black smoke from most of the rickety vehicles plying the road into the atmosphere, burning of synthetic materials like tires and nylon bags are common sight across the city. The sorry state of Aba cannot be compared with anything as I would simply christen Aba as the dirtiest place on earth. The heaps of waste at every corner of the city encroaching into major roads simply tells you how little the residents gives to personal and environmental hygiene. Improper dumping of refuse and emission of un-burnt fossil fuel also accounted for Aba’s pollution problems.

Onitsha City in Nigeria 
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The PM10 according to the World Health Organization are particulate matter that are less or equal to ten (10 micrometers) in their diameter. These particles are so tiny that it can find its way into the human lungs resulting to several major health issues. The mean concentration for each of  the above cities were recorded as follows:


Onitsha – 594
Kaduna – 423
Aba – 373
Umuahia – 274

Onitsha PM10 level was a staggering 549 mg per m3 thirty times above recommended limit. Knowing that air pollution contributes to major health problems, this should certainly be a very big concern to Nigerians and West Africa at large. In 2016, about 95% of the entire Nigerian population was said to have been exposed to harmful air pollution limit that surpasses what WHO recommended according to the World Bank. Note that as also mentioned above, the implicated Nigerian cities by WHO have been found to have major problem in solid waste management as litters of plastics, nylons bags and rubbers lies on every roads and streets with those inside the drainages blocking the free flow of water. The Nigerian government has a big task in enforcing that its citizenry pays much attention to its environment as neglect will result to major negative effects on their health.