In the Air tonight: Satellite-based Air Quality Data and Inclusive Development in Africa: a Scoping Review of the Literature

Climate change and inequality are the most pressing societal challenges of our time. Understanding these complex, interrelated and urgent problems requires interdisciplinary scientific collaboration. Air quality (AQ) is closely linked to climate and climate change as many of the drivers of air pollution (i.e. combustion of fossil fuels) are also sources of greenhouse gas emissions. AQ has been identified as the single largest environmental risk to public health and people’s wellbeing. There is a robust and growing base of evidence that air pollution - a mixture of particulate matter and gases - negatively affects various dimensions of our health, our environment and socio-economic aspects of our lives. So far, the effects of air pollution are broadly studied in the ‘global north’. Much less is known about the status and impact of air pollution in developing countries, particularly on the African continent.
The objective of this working paper is to review the existing academic and grey literature on the use of satellite-based air quality data as well as the inclusion of different socioeconomic perspectives in this field of study. The paper also examines how researchers from diverse disciplines and geographies collaborate when it comes to a multidisciplinary problem like air quality in Africa.
This is ASCL Working Paper 157/2024. Read all ASCL Working Papers.

Author(s) / editor(s)

Dekker, Kazimierczuk, Garland, Stein Zweers, Levelt

About the author(s) / editor(s)

Marleen Dekker is Professor of Inclusive Development in Africa at the ASCL/Leiden University.
Agnieszka Kazimierczuk is a project researcher at the ASCL. 
Rebecca Garland is Associate Professor at the Department of Geography, Geoinformatics, and Meteorology, University of Pretoria.
Deborah Stein Zweers works at the R&D Satellite Observations department of the Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute (KNMI).
Pieternel Levelt is Professor in Remote Sensing of the Earth Atmosphere at Delft University and leads the R&D department on Satellite Observations at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI).