Published: Wednesday 28 February 2001

The use of old cars imported from industrialised countries is increasing the air pollution levels in Dakar, the capital city of Senegal. These cars -- imported from Germany, France, Belgium, Switzerland and Italy -- constitute 84 per cent of vehicles in Dakar. "This is a terrible situation, since it poses a health risk to millions of people. But we do not have laws to stop the import of used cars or ban their use," said Abdourahmane Ndiaye, an official of the country's environment ministry.

Air pollution in Senegal has worsened since 1996, when the government liberalised laws and allowed the import of used cars. More than 40 per cent of imported cars in Dakar use diesel. "This is because of the high cost of petrol. Besides, most of the imported cars have diesel engines," said Ndiaye.

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