Dirtiest city in Africa: 20 most polluted cities in Africa

Dirtiest city in Africa: 20 most polluted cities in Africa

Did you know pollution is among the major causes of plant, animal, and human disease and illness? Human activity has destroyed mother earth, leading to serious implications. Being aware of our surroundings and enforcing environmental conservation and preservation efforts can save humanity. The dirtiest city in Africa can be restored to mitigate the harsh effects of pollution.

Dirtiest city in Africa
A landfill near trees. Photo: pexels.com, @Leonid Danilov (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Do you live in the dirtiest city in Africa? Discover the 20 most polluted urban centres on the continent today.

Dirtiest city in Africa: Top 20 list

Every human being has experienced the side effects of pollution in Africa. The climate has changed, and human illness and disease are on the rise. Discover the dirtiest city in Africa in 2022. The ranking is based on the level of uncontrolled garbage on the streets and air and water pollution.

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20. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Addis Ababa is one of the dirtiest capital cities in Africa in 2022. It is the capital and largest city of Ethiopia. The metro area population in 2022 is 5,228,000.

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The high human population and lack of proper waste management and environmental conservation efforts have led to environmental pollution.

19. Yaounde, Cameroon

Yaounde is the capital of Cameroon, a Central African country. According to the last census in the country, this urban centre had a human population of 4,389,200.

The lack of political will and finance hinders investment in waste collection and recycling infrastructure in the city and the rest of the nation. Yaounde has been struggling with plastic pollution for years.

18. Buchanan, Liberia

Buchanan, previously known as Grand Bassa, is the third-largest city in Liberia. There is plenty of air, noise, land, and marine pollution in this urban area.

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The country experienced decades of civil unrest and health crises. During this period, no environmental conservation efforts were enforced. This urban centre and the entire country have a long way to go in rebuilding the nation.

17. Afikpo, Nigeria

Ehugbo, or Afikpo, is the second largest urban area in Ebonyi State in Nigeria. As of the last population census in 2006, the human population of the area is estimated at 156,611. It is projected to have increased since then.

Research indicates the water in this area has a worrying concentration of heavy metals. The garbage management system needs a lot of improvement. The air quality in this urban centre is currently eight times the WHO annual air quality guideline value.

dirtiest city in africa in 2022
A picture of garbage in a body of water. Photo: pexels.com, @Yogendra Singh
Source: UGC

16. Johannesburg, South Africa

Johannesburg, also known as The City of Gold, is South Africa's biggest city and the capital of Gauteng province. This urban centre started as a 19th-century gold-mining settlement and is the country's chief industrial and financial metropolis.

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Johannesburg's landfill sites are bulging with plastic waste. The city's biggest landfill site is located in the Turffontein area. Moreover, the high air pollution levels in Johannesburg have reduced life expectancy by 3.2 years.

15. Abakaliki, Nigeria

Abakaliki is the capital of Ebonyi State in southeastern Nigeria. This urban centre is known for agriculture and local lead, zinc, salt, and limestone mining. The effects of mining have been witnessed over the years.

The land has been left bare, water sources have been adulterated, and so has the air. The noise levels in the area are high due to mining operations.

14. Ile Ife, Nigeria

Ile-Ife, also known as Ife or Ife-Lodun, is an urban centre in Osun State, southwestern Nigeria. Ile-Ife’s inhabitants are primarily town-dwelling farmers. The metro area population of Ile Ife in 2022 is 397,000.

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This urban area is one of the oldest towns. It is termed one of the dirtiest urban areas on the continent. The local administration has a long way to go towards making it a clean and safe area for every human being.

13. Bafoussam, Cameroon

Bafoussam is the capital and largest city of the West Region of Cameroon. Noise, land, and air pollution in this area have caused the degradation of the local flora and the imbalance of the fauna.

China Longteng, a Chinese-owned firm, operates a gravel quarry on an industrial scale over an area of 12 hectares. This has affected plant life and adulterated Tchipou’s water resources down to the water table.

12. Auchi, Nigeria

Auchi is a city in Edo State in Nigeria. Uncontrolled land use in this urban centre has generated many environmental problems. These are seen in the garbage piles, poor circulatory systems, erosion, and flooding in the area.

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dirtiest capital cities in africa in 2022
A photo of plastics near a tree. Photo: pexels.com, @Stijn Dijkstra
Source: UGC

11. Nsukka, Nigeria

Nsukka is a Local Government Area in Enugu State. This urban area has numerous environmental hazards. The waste management systems are still struggling to achieve their vision and mandate despite efforts of the state government to mitigate pollution. The sanitation of the town leaves a lot to be desired.

10. Hartebeespoort, South Africa

Hartbeespoort is a South African resort town situated north of Johannesburg. It is also called Harties. This urban area is battling sewerage, nuclear, noise, and air pollution.

The Hartbeespoort Dam is visibly polluted, and it exposes people to diseases and illnesses. The Pelindaba nuclear plant, for instance, was licensed to routinely dump vast quantities of nuclear waste into the Crocodile River, just next to the Hartebeespoort Dam.

9. Accra, Ghana

Accra is the capital and largest city of Ghana. It is known for its colourful textile and used or second-hand clothing markets. The city has the worst air pollution in Ghana,

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Dangerous levels of toxic air from rubbish fires, car exhaust, road dust, and soot from biomass-fuelled cookstoves is killing thousands of people in Ghana every year. The streets also have heaps of rubbish that is not well disposed of.

8. Bamenda, Cameroon

Bamenda is also known as Abakwa and Mankon Town. It is a city in northwestern Cameroon and is the Northwest Region's capital. In Cameroon, approximately 7,000 deaths annually are associated with air pollution. The purity and cleanliness in Bamenda in below average.

7. Dakar, Senegal

Dakar is the capital of Senegal, a West African country. Dakar has astonishing levels of outdoor pollutants or particulate matter. People inhale microscopic particles into the lungs resulting in serious health problems.

The streets of this urban centre are also filled with garbage that is not well-managed. According to the World Health Organisation, a safe level of PM10 should be 20, and the level of PM 2.5 should be 10. In Dakar, the average levels are 146 for PM10, i.e. seven times more than recommended.

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What is the world's dirtiest city?
A photo of a dump truck across buildings. Photo: pexels.com, @Kelly
Source: UGC

6. Owerri, Nigeria

Owerri is the capital of Imo State in Nigeria. In this city, the only mode of disposal of waste by the relevant authorities is dumping it into landfills. This method constitutes more pollution. The authorities should treat and recycle wastes into useful products, e.g. biogas and biofuel, to mitigate the situation.

5. Kampala, Uganda

Kampala is Uganda's national and commercial capital. The current metro area population of Kampala in 2022 is 3,652,000 people. Kampala ranks among the world's most polluted cities, and approximately 28,000 people die each year in the country due to air pollution. Its pollution levels are up to seven times higher than the World Health Organisation's standards.

4. Umuahia, Nigeria

Umuahia is the capital city of Abia State in southeastern Nigeria. It had a human population of 359,230, according to the 2006 Nigerian census. The population has since increased, and congestion in this urban are is partly to blame for the pollution levels.

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The city lacks proper waste management policies and procedures. As a result, slums and informal settlements with poor sewerage systems and garbage disposal are lacking. In 2016, the World Health Organisation ranked Umuahia 16th on the list of the most polluted cities.

3. Aba, Nigeria

Aba is an urban area in the southeast of Nigeria. It is the commercial centre of Abia State. Aba river continuously undergoes pollution from effluents from activities around the river, and this has become a public health hazard.

The air and streets are also heavily polluted. Unless the relevant authorities take quick action, human, plant, and animal lives will be on the line.

2. Kaduna, Nigeria

Kaduna is the capital city of Kaduna State in Nigeria. The current metro area population of Kaduna in 2022 is 1,158,000 people.

High levels of heavy metals and temperature in River Kaduna could be traced to urban and industrial wastes. The air is also polluted, and some streets are filled with plastic and other wastes from households and businesses.

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1. Onitsha, Nigeria

Onitsha is a city located on the eastern bank of the Niger River in Anambra State. This urban centre is grossly polluted in terms of air quality, noise, and solid waste that litter the streets, blocking drainages and canals.

The city’s government has plenty of work to do to redeem this city from its current situation. In 2016, the World Health Organisation named it the most polluted city on the continent.

What is the dirtiest city in Africa?
Piles of garbage by the shoreline. Photo: pexels.com, @Lucien Wanda
Source: UGC

Which is the dirtiest country in West Africa in 2022?

Liberia, Nigeria, The Republic of Congo, Ghana, and Togo are among the dirtiest countries in Africa in 2022.

Which is the dirtiest country in Africa?

Liberia was ranked the dirtiest country on the continent by the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) in 2022. It is one of the largest electronic waste dumps and one of the most polluted places on the planet.

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Where is the most polluted place in Africa?

Liberia is arguably the most polluted place on the continent.

Which city is the dirtiest city in Liberia?

The city Buchanan, previously known as Grand Bassa, is arguably the dirties. It is closely followed by the City of Monrovia.

What is the world's dirtiest city?

Based on the level of nitrogen oxide, the dirtiest city is Shanghai in China. It is followed by Moscow, Russia, and Tehran. In terms of trash, Rome was considered the dirtiest city in the world by the New Global Survey Ranks.

What is the dirtiest city in Africa?

Onitsha, a city located on the eastern bank of the Niger River in Anambra State, is arguably the dirtiest city on the continent.

Is New York the dirtiest city in the world?

The New Global Survey Ranks reported that New York City was the second-dirtiest city in the world in 2022.

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The dirtiest city in Africa is Onitsha in Nigeria. Many urban areas on the continent are grossly polluted, and governments need to step up environmental preservation and conservation measures.

READ ALSO: Top 20 most beautiful countries in Africa that you should visit

Legit.ng recently published a list of the 20 most beautiful countries in Africa that you should visit soon. Africa is among the most beautiful continents in the world. It is home to many breathtaking sites, untamed forests, and pristine beaches.

African nations vary in weather, geography, culture, and physical features. This diversity makes for an excellent blend of amazing places you should visit soon.

Source: Legit.ng

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Cyprine Apindi (Lifestyle writer) Cyprine Apindi is a content creator and educator with over six years of experience. She holds a Diploma in Mass Communication and a Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from Kenyatta University. Cyprine joined Briefly.co.za in mid-2021, covering multiple topics, including finance, entertainment, sports, and lifestyle. In 2023, she finished the AFP course on Digital Investigation Techniques. She received the 2023 Writer of the Year Award. In 2024, she completed the Google News Initiative course. Email: cyprineapindi@gmail.com

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Adrianna Simwa (Lifestyle writer) Adrianna Simwa is a content writer at Legit.ng where she has worked since mid-2022. She has written for many periodicals on a variety of subjects, including news, celebrities, and lifestyle, for more than three years. She has worked for The Hoth, The Standard Group and Triple P Media. Adrianna graduated from Nairobi University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in 2020. In 2023, Simwa finished the AFP course on Digital Investigation Techniques. You can reach her through her email: adriannasimwa@gmail.com

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