Climate Change, Air Pollution and Health in South Africa

  • Eugene Cairncross
  • Aqiel Dalvie
  • Rico Euripidou
  • James IrlamEmail author
  • Rajen Nithiseelan Naidoo
Part of the Springer Climate book series (SPCL)


Climate change and air pollution pose significant short-term and long-term health risks to South Africans due to the carbon intensity of the national economy, the severe air pollution around coal mining and coal-fired power stations in many widespread populated areas and the particular vulnerability of many subgroups in a country burdened by extreme inequality and a severe quadruple epidemic of acute and chronic disease.

There are limited local studies on the respiratory, cardiovascular and other health risks of air pollution. Inadequate disease surveillance and air quality data pose a challenge for monitoring and research.

A number of interventions to mitigate or adapt to climate change with important co-benefits for air quality and public health are described for the following economic sectors: energy, industry, human settlements, transport, healthcare and business sector.

There is good policy commitment to address climate change and air pollution, but implementation needs to be drastically improved.


Air pollution Climate change Mitigation Public health Energy Coal 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eugene Cairncross
    • 1
  • Aqiel Dalvie
    • 2
  • Rico Euripidou
    • 3
  • James Irlam
    • 1
    Email author
  • Rajen Nithiseelan Naidoo
    • 4
  1. 1.Primary Health Care Directorate, Faculty of Health SciencesUniversity of Cape Town, ObservatoryCapetownSouth Africa
  2. 2.School of Public Health & Family Medicine, Faculty of Health SciencesUniversity of Cape Town, ObservatoryCapetownSouth Africa
  3. 3.groundWork, Friends of the Earth South AfricaPietermaritzburgSouth Africa
  4. 4.Discipline of Occupational and Environmental HealthUniversity of KwaZulu-NatalDurbanSouth Africa

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