Why Joburg is Africa's top polluter

It's far easier to cut emissions at a local than at a national level, survey's leader says

05 June 2018 - 18:00 By Dave Chambers
Map of the global carbon footprint. The top 100 cities are shown (top 100 in blue, top 50 in orange, and top 10 in red). This map was generated with the NTNU Spatial Footprinting Toolbox.
Map of the global carbon footprint. The top 100 cities are shown (top 100 in blue, top 50 in orange, and top 10 in red). This map was generated with the NTNU Spatial Footprinting Toolbox.
Image: http://citycarbonfootprints.info/

Johannesburg has made it to number 13 in a list of leading cities, but not in a good way.

The city is 13th on a list of the world’s top 500 polluting cities. Other South African cities on the list — the first of its kind — are Cape Town (89th), Durban (102nd) and Port Elizabeth (335th).

Bloemfontein also gets a mention: It is 467th on the list when it comes to carbon footprint per capita. Johannesburg is 432nd on this list, but no other South African cities feature.

Joburg has the highest carbon footprint of any African city, according to researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology who published their work in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

It is responsible for 28.9% of South Africa’s carbon footprint, and Cape Town is responsible for 7.4%.

The only other African city in the top 500 is Banha, an important transport hub between Cairo and Alexandria. It is 17th on the list and responsible for 42.4% of Egypt's carbon footprint.

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