Africa will need bold measures in order to avert a looming health and environmental crisis - which is the result of air pollution according to a recent OECD report. The report also shows that outdoor and indoor pollution in Africa are causing more death and carry more estimated costs than unsafe water and sanitation and childhood malnutrition. The report says that most of this pollution comes from energy generation, open fires in household operations and imported used equipment.
Around the world, arable land or land that is suitable for agriculture is dwindling. The rural-to-urban migration and growing cities of the world have constricted the capacity of the rural populations to provide food, for both urban and rural populations. At the same time, our overall world population is increasing. How do we feed an additional 2 billion people by 2050? In Kenya, a US-based not-for-profit social enterprise called CAN YA LOVE (pronounced as Kenya Love), is working with a consortium of local partners, to erect pillar gardens in urban areas such as slums, community land spaces and in schools.
As the global population progresses towards 8.5 billion by 2030, the amount of urban solid waste is budding even faster than the rate of urbanization. In Kenya, solid waste is a precursor to several environmental and health challenges, ranging from clogged drainage and sewers, waterborne diseases like typhoid, cholera and diarrhea, increased upper respiratory diseases from open burning of the garbage, to malaria. Collection and disposal systems are inefficient and are not environmentally-friendly.
As the world population increases and modern amenities become available to developing countries, the desires and needs of these emerging economies are logically changing. In particular, air conditioning and ventilation have become essential for both domestic and commercial use throughout the developing world. However, we understand that this sudden upsurge in cooling needs has both financial and environmental costs.
Meet Africa's first playground lit by means of power generated from footfall kinetic energy. In other words, when players, runners or other people step on the tiles installed on the ground, electricity is generated and it is used to light up the field. It means that the more players hustle for the goals, the brighter the light shines inside the pitch.
Production of electricity from waste has the potential of providing up to 83.8 TeraWatt hours, which is about 20% of the electricity needed in Africa by 2025. This is according to a study co-authored by the European Commission Joint Research Centre. However, this requires stringent waste management policies to be put in place, and today Africa lacks the adequate infrastructure needed to install these environmentally friendly methods.
Urbanization in Africa is still a critical issue that preoccupies a good number of governments and getting enough resources is also a big challenge. Solutions are coming in the form of green building solutions - STRAWTEC has recently built factory in Rwanda that produces strawboards panels and the factory has more ambitious projects to improve urbanization in the country with carbon-negative-footprint building materials.
A common characteristic of informal settlements in Cameroon is the lack of indoor lighting during the day. To carry out any productive activities, households have to turn on the lights – for those who can afford electricity - or use kerosene lamps or candles adding to their electricity consumption and accompanying energy-related expenses as well as indoor air pollution. This gadget is an innovative passive lighting technology based on a transparent plastic bottle filled with clean water. It is fitted into the corrugated iron roofs of houses without ceilings.
Sustainable construction techniques present an opportunity for developing countries to lower carbon emissions, lower energy consumption, and from the outset, reduce housing deficit and the cost of living. Many techniques that help lower the cost of building have been tried and tested and proved successful. Green building is slowly but surely being accepted in developing countries.
Chris French manages GHD’s Water Technology Group in the Melbourne office. As a Principal Water Engineer and Project Director, Chris has led or contributed to a wide range of water, sanitation and hydropower projects in Australia, China, Lao PDR and Vietnam. Lindsey Beck recently interviewed Chris to discuss water and its role in a cleanleap.