Using green transport can prevent over 38,000 deaths in Africa’s Accra: WHO

Accra is one of the fastest-growing cities in Africa

By DTE Staff
Published: Friday 02 April 2021
Using green transport can save over 38,000 lives in Africa's Accra: WHO. Photo: World Health Organization

Switching to sustainable modes of transportation can prevent around 5,500 premature deaths in Africa’s Accra by reducing air pollution, according to a new report by World Health Organization.

This can be achieved by increasing share of electronic mass transport, encouraging walking and cycling, and thus, reducing the overall use of cars, taxis and other motorcycles that cause air pollution, the report suggested.

Another 33,000 lives will be saved till 2050 by increased physical activity, said the report Health and economic impacts of transport interventions in Accra.

Accra’s population grows by around 2 per cent every year — one of the fastest in the continent. The number of cars per 1,000 population (22 in 2015) is projected to increase 55 per cent by 2030 and more than double by 2050, the report said. The rise in overall transport demand will be three-fold by 2050, the report added.

In the same period, the share of active travel (walking or cycling) is expected to reduce.  While walking is one of the most popular forms of transport at present, cycling contributes only 0.1 per cent of the total passenger-kilometres (pkm).

The researchers used a transport tool called iSThAT to calculate the “health and economic consequences of urban road transport mitigation measures” for cleaner air and lower road-related carbon emissions.  

The report presented three alternative models of moving to greener modes of transportation without disrupting public life. The models, which are progressively ambitious, illustrated the ideal shares of vehicles running on fossil fuels, those running on cleaner energy and walking or cycling in the total transport activity.

Comparing the three alternative scenarios

(Source: WHO)

The scenarios also proposed more prudent space planning to help reduce vehicular emissions.

The report called for “appropriate government incentives and financial investments to facilitate the transformation”. A total health cost of $15 billion can also be prevented through this change, the report noted.

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