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The Cost of Pollution in the Third World

Pollution in the Third WorldLevels of pollution in the third world are disproportionately impactful and the cost of this impact keeps rising. In 2015, 195 countries came together in Paris to discuss climate change. These countries eventually came to an agreement on what should be done to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

In previous climate summits, the agreements usually excused developing countries (including China and India) from implementing stricter greenhouse gas limits. This was with good reason; many of these countries had not contributed to the majority of GHG emissions throughout history. Consequentially, developing countries did not experience the same opportunities to grow as other nations.

However, the new accord mandates lower emissions regardless of a country’s economic status.

Countries like India and China, with growing populations and a rising middle class, are increasingly contributing to GHG emissions. Meanwhile, the U.S. continues to be the largest, developed polluting country.

The impact of climate change is usually felt most by the poorest individuals, especially in third world countries. Pollution in the third world has major implications that are not often felt in developed countries like the U.S.

Many regions within Africa struggle against the adverse effects of climate change. As a 2010 World Bank article stated, “In Sub-Saharan Africa extreme weather will cause dry areas to become drier and wet areas wetter; agriculture yields will suffer from crop failures; and diseases will spread to new altitudes.”

In a 2016 U.N. aid summit, pressure rose to provide more funding to reduce the risks of natural disasters. The world’s poor faces a higher risk from adverse weather due to climate change.

Various government entities and private organizations have been fighting to mitigate the effects of climate change in impoverished countries. For example, the Red Cross is implementing forecast-based financing in Uganda, which “releases funding to communities according to agreed triggers such as weather predictions.”

Some developing African countries are even using solar power to access electricity. Gigawatt Global implemented a $24 million solar project in the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village within Rwanda.

The climate conditions within Sub-Saharan Africa are ideal for solar energy. This solar project also provides training and job opportunities for local residents. Rwanda’s solar energy plant provides hope for the future of clean energy and lower pollution in the third world.

According to scientists, the world has not yet reached the point of no return in terms of climate change. If the heavy reform recommended for high-emitting countries came to pass, future disasters might be avoided in third world countries like Kenya and Rwanda.

Saroja Koneru

Photo: Flickr