Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Switch to Unleaded Petrol "In Sight" for Africa


Voluntary Initiative, Born Out of WSSD, Set to Deliver Major Health and Environmental Benefits to Continent’s 800 Million Citizens

UNEP’s Governing Council 3 to 7 February: Environment for Development

An international effort to phase out lead, the health-hazardous heavy metal, from petrol is accelerating as increasing numbers of African countries switch to unleaded fuel.

Research, to be presented to environment ministers attending a key conference organized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), indicates that within five years most African countries will have phased out, or be close to phasing out, lead from petrol.

A survey carried out by UNEP, which is a leading member of the global Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles, shows that four countries- Egypt, Libya, Mauritius and the Sudan- are already fully lead free. This year four other nations or dependent territories, Morocco, Reunion, Tunisia and Western Sahara will join them.

Meanwhile, a further 22 including Eritrea, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Togo and Uganda have or are in the process of drawing up action plans to phase out leaded by 2005-2006 the research indicates.

Plans are under way to bring the remaining countries on board, many of whom are in Central Africa, in order to deliver the goal of a lead-free Continent and a lead free world.

Klaus Toepfer, UNEP’s Executive Director, said: “ It has been known for many years that lead in petrol or gasoline is a serious health risk particularly to children. Studies have demonstrated that children living near roads and in urban areas where leaded petrol is used, can suffer brain damage with symptoms including lower intelligence scores. This is why it has been phased out and banned in countries in Western Europe, North America, parts of the Far East and elsewhere and why it is being rapidly phased out in many other parts of the world”.

“But much of Africa, mainly for technological reasons, a lack of awareness of the health risks and misconceptions about the impact of unleaded fuels on the engines, has lagged behind. However, partly because of work already under way and the new impetus from the global Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles, the situation is rapidly changing and a lead free Africa is in sight. Lead is not the only pollutant they are targeting. Others include sulphur, which is linked with effects including smog and the acidification of waterways,” he said.

“This is one, if not the, first concrete outcome of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) held six months ago in Johannesburg, South Africa. The voluntary initiative, a so-called Type II project, was born there with funding and support from Governments, the private sector including the oil and automobile industries, civil society and international organizations like UNEP. Let us hope that the success being achieved, bodes well for the other Type II voluntary partnerships in areas ranging from coral reefs to environmental law,” said Mr Toepfer.

He announced today that, as a small but symbolic push toward the lead-free goal, the on-site filling station at the United Nations headquarters in Kenya, which currently sells both leaded and unleaded petrol, will in future only sell unleaded fuel.

Rob De Jong, UNEP’s programme officer for urban environment, said there were a lot of motoring myths about leaded versus unleaded fuels which was making some vehicle owners reluctant to use the cleaner fuel.

“Many people who drive older cars are convinced that they will suffer engine damage if they fill up with unleaded fuel. But this really is not the case. Only under the extreme conditions of a laboratory test can effects be seen. In the real world, under normal motoring conditions prevailing in Africa, unleaded petrol works well if not better in most if not all vehicles. Unleaded petrol also allows motorists to drive vehicles with catalytic converters. This is another key health and environmental reason for using the cleaner fuels as they can reduce emissions by 90 per cent,’ he said.

The WSSD and its Plan of Implementation has targets and timetables for a wide range of sustainable development issues. In respect of leaded petrol, it calls for the rapid, global phase out, of this key pollutant. The work is also being guided by the Dakar Declaration of March 2002 in which countries backed a phase out of lead in petrol by 2005.

Nearly $500,000 has been pledged by partners for this. UNEP is acting as a “clearing house”, through which the various partners will be gathering and exchanging information on key issues including the status of phase-outs in developing countries.

UNEP will also be assisting in developing and implementing action plans, organizing workshops to help countries phase out lead in petrol as well as promote cleaner fuels and vehicles in general, bring in new partners and develop and distribute fact packs and other information materials to assist countries in informing consumers on the argument in favour of unleaded fuels.

Nick Nuttall | alfa

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide

nachricht Malaysia's unique freshwater mussels in danger
27.09.2016 | The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus

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: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

The gene of autumn colours

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Polymer scaffolds build a better pill to swallow

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Greater Range and Longer Lifetime

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>