Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Planning the urban future particularly important in poor, polluted cities

08.06.2011
The capital of Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou, is not only one of the fastest growing cities in the world, it is also extremely polluted.

Researchers from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have shown that the city climate contributes to the high pollution levels. However, increased knowledge about the city could turn bad into good.

‘The air quality in Ouagadougou is very bad. The biggest problem is the extreme levels of dust in the air – they are often more than 100 times higher than in Sweden. Yet the vulnerability to air pollution varies greatly between the rich and the poor,’ says Jenny Lindén at the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Gothenburg.

When the world’s population grows, the most rapid increase is found in the poorest cities, and this has an enormous effect on the environment and also a strong effect on the urban climate and air quality. The population of Ouagadougou, which borders the Sahara Desert in western Africa and is growing faster than any other city, will grow from today’s about 2 million people to 3.4 million in 2020.

The World Health Organisation has indicated that the most important cause of death in Burkina Faso is respiratory problems, which are strongly linked to air pollution. Respiratory problems cause 20 percent of all deaths, and the already high levels of air pollution will increase even further as the population keeps growing.

The pollution in Ouagadougou is mainly due to dust from the many unpaved roads in the city and from the Sahara Desert. The larger number of old and poorly maintained cars and mopeds are of course also problematic, along with the fact that three out of four households cook their food over an open fire. This means that the wealthiest people in the city are less exposed to pollution since they live in neighbourhoods with paved roads and have better vehicles and cleaner ways to cook food. Ouagadougou shares this situation with a large number of other cities. In fact, the phenomenon is rather normal among very poor cities around the world.

Jenny Lindén also shows that Ouagadougou has its own city climate with considerably lower temperatures at night in vegetated areas – a result that could imply reduced nocturnal heat stress if considered in urban planning.

‘In addition, the air above Ouagadougou tends to form in very stable layers, especially in the evening. This implies low wind speeds and limited air exchange between areas, which in turn means that the emissions from the city gets trapped. The atmospheric stability is not easily changed, but it is nevertheless important information since it means that pollutants emitted in the evening remains in the city.’

The results of Jenny Lindén’s studies can be used to design strategies to improve the air quality for the vulnerable urban population in the world’s poorest countries. The doctoral thesis Urban Climate and Air Pollution in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso was presented and defended on 27 May.

Supervisor: Professor Ingegärd Eliasson.
Link to the thesis: hdl.handle.net/2077/24995
Contact:
Jenny Lindén, Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Gothenburg
+46 (0)31 786 28 35
+46 (0)730 27 39 24
jenny@gvc.gu.se

Helena Aaberg | idw
Further information:
http://hdl.handle.net/2077/24995
http://www.gu.se

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

Im Focus: Like a wedge in a hinge

Researchers lay groundwork to tailor drugs for new targets in cancer therapy

In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Magnetic nano-imaging on a table top

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Start of work for the world's largest electric truck

20.04.2018 | Interdisciplinary Research

Atoms may hum a tune from grand cosmic symphony

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>