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Ouganda: Pollution atmosphérique à Kampala

Si dès aujourd’hui aucune action concrète n’est entreprise, la capitale de « the Pearl of Africa » deviendra presque inhabitable dans quelques décennies.
Uganda, Eastern Africa

Story by Anna Adima. Translated by Cyntia Wombe
Published on March 5, 2022.

This story is also available in GB de es it kr nl tr



Comme la plupart des personnes qui vivent et fréquentent ma ville natale Kampala en Ouganda, (j’y suis actuellement pour un travail sur le terrain dans le cadre de mes études doctorales) je respire plus que la quantité normale quotidienne d’une combinaison toxique de poussière, de gaz d’échappement des voitures et de fumée industrielle. C’est l’ensemble de ces éléments qui  constitue la pollution atmosphérique.

Kampala, capitale de l’Ouganda avec un taux de croissance de 4,03% pour une population de 1,6 millions d’habitants est l’une des villes qui connaissent une croissance rapide dans le monde. La croissance économique associée à l’urbanisation ont entrainé la hausse du nombre de véhicules: Près de 50000 véhicules (voitures, bus, engins, mototaxis) circulent dans les rues de Kampala. Beaucoup de ces véhicules sont vieux et non écologiques. Nous avons aussi les déchets industriels dangereux qui contribuent à la hausse de la pollution atmosphérique de la ville. D’autres déchets toxiques, provenant de la combustion des déchets à l’intérieur des habitations dans lesquelles des poêles à bois ou à charbon sont utilisées pour cuisiner favorisent la pollution atmosphérique

Après la ville de Kano au Nigeria, Kampala est la deuxième ville la plus polluée en Afrique  avec  ses 2,5 PM (ce sont des particules polluants d’une taille de 2,5 microns. Parmi  les polluants atmosphériques il est le plus dangereux pour la santé), en moyenne de 40,8µg/m³ en 2018 ce qui va bien au-delà de l’objectif fixé par l’Organisation Mondiale de la Santé, soit 10 µg/m³. On peut ressentir les impacts de ces différentes formes de pollution atmosphérique au quotidien dans la ville de Kampala. Quand je me suis retrouvé sur un terrain plus élevé sur l’une des sept collines de la ville, je pouvais voir un épais nuage de  pollution qui planait au dessus de Kampala et semblait l’étouffer. Se retrouver  bloqué dans une ville où le trafic est pénible expose ses usagers à des gaz d’échappement mortels émis par les véhicules tout autour.  Les déplacements à l'extérieur peuvent être dangereux: le plus grand risque est de se faire heurter par un véhicule en marchant, en pédalant ou en courant ou encore de se faire agresser. À cela nous ajoutons les risques à respirer l’air pollué de la ville (c’est pour cette raison que j’ai choisi de mener mes recherches à l’intérieur des bureaux pendant mon séjour ici). C’est donc sans surprise que les problèmes de santé respiratoire sont de plus en plus élevés en Ouganda. En 2017, 13000 décès dans le pays étaient liés à la pollution atmosphérique.

Le journal local a mené une sensibilisation à travers le pays et plus précisément dans la ville de Kampala, sur les dangers de la pollution atmosphérique.  Divers médias réclament que des actions soient prises. À leur tour, chercheurs et  autorités de Kampala cité capitale, n’ont  ménagé aucun effort dans le but d’éduquer la population sur le poison qu’ils respirent au quotidien. En 2018, le gouvernement ougandais a adopté une loi interdisant l’importation des voitures qui ont plus de 15 ans d’utilisation dans le but de réduire la pollution atmosphérique du pays. Les propriétaires de véhicules qui ont plus de cinq ans d’utilisation devront payer une écotaxe. 

Ces actions sont-elles suffisantes pour lutter contre la pollution? Le fait de marcher et d’emprunter les transports en commun en Ouganda permet de se mélanger à d’autres classes sociales et cette situation est souvent regardée de haut par les nantis de la ville. Les transports en communs ne sont forcément pas les moyens de transport les plus sûrs ni les plus fiables. Les femmes en particulier, sont plus exposées au harcèlement et aux agressions dans les transports en commun. Un double changement est donc nécessaire: le premier consistera à rendre les moyens de transport plus sûrs, plus accessibles et inclusifs vis-à-vis des personnes marginalisées vivant dans les zones rurales; le deuxième visera à changer la mentalité selon laquelle les transports en commun sont uniquement réservés aux pauvres.

Bien évidemment que ces solutions ne sont pas suffisantes vu l’ampleur du problème. Mais si aucune action concrète n’est entreprise dès maintenant, la capitale « the Pearl of Africa » sera presque inhabitable dans quelques décennies. 


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Anna Adima

Anna Adima

Of German-Ugandan heritage, Anna is a PhD student at the University of York in the UK, where she is researching East African History. She is particularly interested in women’s history, heritage preservation, and issues surrounding race and feminism. With stints in Mwanza, The Hague, Toulouse, London, and Nairobi – in between returning to her ‘passport countries’ – Anna is privileged to have called different places around the world home. When she is not covered in dust looking at old documents in historical archives, Anna enjoys drinking coffee, swimming, and can often be found curled up in her favourite spot on the couch reading a book. She tweets @anna_adima.

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