Air quality management strategies in Africa: A scoping review of the content, context, co-benefits and unintended consequences.
Environment International 2022 ; 171: 107709.
PubMed ID : 36580733
One of the major consequences of Africa's rapid urbanisation is the worsening air pollution, especially in urban centres. However, existing societal challenges such as recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, poverty, intensifying effects of climate change are making prioritisation of addressing air pollution harder. We undertook a scoping review of strategies developed and/or implemented in Africa to provide a repository to stakeholders as a reference that could be applied for various local contexts. The review includes strategies assessed for effectiveness in improving air quality and/or health outcomes, co-benefits of the strategies, potential collaborators, and pitfalls. An international multidisciplinary team convened to develop well-considered research themes and scope from a contextual lens relevant to the African continent. From the initial 18,684 search returns, additional 43 returns through reference chaining, contacting topic experts and policy makers, 65 studies and reports were included for final analysis. Three main strategy categories obtained from the review included technology (75%), policy (20%) and education/behavioural change (5%). Most strategies (83%) predominantly focused on household air pollution compared to outdoor air pollution (17%) yet the latter is increasing due to urbanisation. Mobility strategies were only 6% compared to household energy strategies (88%) yet motorised mobility has rapidly increased over recent decades. A cost effective way to tackle air pollution in African cities given the competing priorities could be by leveraging and adopting implemented strategies, collaborating with actors involved whilst considering local contextual factors. Lessons and best practices from early adopters/implementers can go a long way in identifying opportunities and mitigating potential barriers related to the air quality management strategies hence saving time on trying to "reinvent the wheel" and prevent pitfalls. We suggest collaboration of various stakeholders, such as policy makers, academia, businesses and communities in order to formulate strategies that are suitable and practical to various local contexts.