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Journal Articles Environmental Research Letters Year : 2024

Substantial increase in population exposure to multiple environmental burdens in sub-Saharan Africa (2000-2019)

Abstract

In the face of increasing global environmental uncertainties, sub-Saharan Africa stands as a highly vulnerable region with a massive population marked with poverty and inequalities. Moreover, different environmental risk factors can coexist simultaneously as multiple environmental burdens (MEB); however, population exposure to MEB remains unexamined. Here, using open-access spatial data and critical thresholds, we quantify population exposure to four key environmental risk factors: hazardous fine particulate matter (PM2.5) levels, extreme temperature increase, prolonged severe droughts, and green deficit (scarcity of green trees). Further, we explore the concept of MEB, where these risk factors converge. We derive exposure for 2000 and 2019 at the pixel (1 km grid cell) level. We also check how population change, environmental change, and their interaction contribute to the total change in exposure. We found substantial changes in the population exposed from 2000 to 2019, i.e., an increase of ~460 million people to hazardous PM2.5 levels, ~16 million to extreme temperature increase, ~13 million to prolonged severe droughts, and ~246 million to green deficit. Population exposure to at least three of these four environmental risk factors (3EB) has increased by ~246 million. In this increase in exposure to 3EB, the contribution of environmental change is higher (48%), than that of interaction and population change (36% and 15%, respectively). Notably, there are striking disparities in population exposure, its change, and the contributing effects among countries and regions of sub-Saharan Africa.
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hal-04524639 , version 1 (28-03-2024)

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Ankit Sikarwar, Valérie Golaz. Substantial increase in population exposure to multiple environmental burdens in sub-Saharan Africa (2000-2019). Environmental Research Letters, 2024, in press, ⟨10.1088/1748-9326/ad376b⟩. ⟨hal-04524639⟩
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