The continued importation of grey vehicles in Zimbabwe is posing a health hazard in the country as used cars are less fuel efficient than new ones University of Zimbabwe researchers revealed during a Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) workshop that took place in Harare.
University of Zimbabwe researchers who presented during the workshop said that the country’s recent imported vehicles have an average of 11 years old raising fears that some of the road transport is no longer environmental friendly producing incomplete combustion which causes air pollution.
“Maybe they (government) should ban the 11 years old although it might not be pro-poor it could be of help to our environment” suggested Ngonidzashe Zaname, one of the researchers.
Fossil fuels such as petroleum and diesel are used to power vehicles producing carbon dioxide gas which is blamed for climate change. Extreme weather conditions that have increased recently such as droughts, hail storms and heat waves which have caused negative effects to agricultural products as well as causing deaths of people and property loss are associated with climate change.
Statistics that were revealed during the meeting show that Zimbabwe produced 9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2008 above Zambia which had 2,2 million tonnes despite economic challenges. Carbon Dioxide and sulphur dioxide is one of the gases that is causing climate change which is associated with extreme weather conditions.
The country exceeded to over 200 milligrams per cubic metres of sulphur dioxide in the air.
Another researcher, Mr Kaseke said, “When you look at Zimbabwe we are far ahead of even some of the African countries(in terms of the number of vehicles) and so we need to do something about carbon gas emissions”.
According to the Zimbabwe National Road Administration 2016 statistics, an estimated of 1,2 million used cars are in the country which was on top five of having the largest number of vehicles in the continent in 2008.
Air pollution causes negative health effects as it leads to premature deaths which have costed Africa an estimated USD $215 Billion in 2013. According to the World Health Organisation estimates nearly seven million deaths representing more than 10 percent of the loss of lives in 2012 were attributed to ambient air pollution.