Power generators across Africa and elsewhere in the world are used to back-up electricity use, but their environmental impacts cannot be overlooked. Several African countries plus India, Iraq, Pakistan, Venezuela, and Bangladesh, among others, rely on generators to provide power and lighting, and the gases the machines release into the atmosphere are found inimical to human and environmental health.
At a conference of the United Nations General Assembly just concluded last week, world leaders agree that Africa contributes the least greenhouse emissions to the atmosphere – with possibly the exception of South Africa as a country. But the remaining African countries do not emit as many greenhouse gases as the United States alone, yet the little Africa releases are mostly from back-up power generators.
Generators’ exhausts contain delicate particulate matter, including sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxides, carbon dioxide, and other dangerous gases that endanger personal health and hasten global warming. Analysts say 15% of all nitrous oxides emitted in Sub-Saharan Africa come from power generators, and delicate matter from generator exhausts is equal to 35% of delicate things from motor vehicles.
More dangerous to immediate health is the use of generators in residential quarters. The gases from the machines have been known to kill entire families before daybreak and contributed to illnesses suffered by some users over a long period. Using generators in shared-living spaces or proximity to living apartments is terrible because the petrol they use is highly flammable.
Several countries and environmental activists around the world recommend the use of cleaner energy from water and renewable solar sources.
About 167 developing countries rely significantly on power generators to produce a total capacity of 350-500 gigawatts of power. Homeowners and local businesses spend between $30 billion to $50 billion every year to run generators using diesel and petrol – a significant drain on personal and business resources.