ANPE challenges WHO’s classification of Tunisia among 10 most polluted African countries
09/11/2018 13:31, TUNIS/Tunisia

(TAP) - Tunis, Sousse and Bizerte are among the African cities where it is difficult to breathe healthy air, according to the latest report of the World Health Organisation (WHO) published late October and that Tunisia intends to challenge.

According to the report, Tunisia is among the 10 most polluted countries in Africa, in this case Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Cameroon, Liberia and South Africa.

WHO, which held the first Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health, October 30-November 1, refers to an air quality database of over 4,300 cities in the world in 108 countries.

According to his data, Africa ranks among the worst in terms of exposure to fine particles, which can be breathed outdoors as well as indoors.

Africa and the Mediterranean: 100% of children under 5 threatened by air pollution

In the African and Eastern Mediterranean regions, 100% of children under 5 are exposed to levels of air pollution (PM2.5 fine particles) above the levels recommended by WHO.

In these regions, air pollution comes from harmful emissions of exhaust fumes, dust and sand from the desert, abandoned mines and deforestation. These emissions have repercussions on health and can, above all, cause heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and respiratory infections.

"It cannot be accepted that billions of people - especially women and children - continue to breathe on a daily basis deadly fumes from stoves and polluting fuels inside their homes," says WHO Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

WHO recognises that air pollution is a critical risk factor for non-communicable diseases (NCDs), causing an estimated one quarter (24%) of adult deaths from heart disease, 25% of deaths due to stroke, 43% of deaths due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and 29% of deaths due to lung cancer.

Tunisia intends to challenge this report, as it has done for the former report, which forced the WHO to withdraw the part devoted to Tunisia, said Friday to TAP Head of the National Agency for Environmental Protection (ANPE) Dalila Betaieb.

She pointed out that the report is based on unreliable data collected from poorly equipped researchers, adding that the agency had not been contacted for this report while it manages the National Network of Air Quality Monitoring and it has 30 permanent stations spread throughout the Tunisian territory.

These stations are connected to the central station set up in the National Agency for the Protection of the Environment (ANPE) at the El Mourouj park, Ben Arous.

The report cited like last year tourist cities like Sousse and Bizerte, while everyone knows that the most polluted cities in the country are Sfax, Gabes or Gafsa, Betaieb specified.

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