While air pollution data in Ethiopia is limited, existing studies indicate high levels of both ambient and household air pollution; rapid urbanization also threatens the preservation of urban green spaces. In this study, environmental injustice, or the disproportionate burden of environmental exposures on persons of lower socioeconomic status (SES), was explored among women in Ethiopia using a mother and child cohort from the city of Adama. Land-use regression models were previously developed for modeling ambient nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) throughout Adama, while household air pollution (cooking fuel type) and the presence of green space were assessed through questionnaires and home visits, respectively. The odds of being exposed to these environmental factors were analyzed in association with two SES indicators, education and occupation, using logistic regression. Our results indicate the presence of environmental injustice in Adama, as women with lower SES shouldered a higher burden of air pollution exposure and enjoyed less urban green space than their higher SES counterparts. These findings encourage the prioritization of air quality control and urban planning resources toward policy action within lower SES areas. From a societal perspective, our results also support more upstream interventions, including investment in educational and occupational opportunities. Still, a human rights approach is emphasized, as governments are responsible for protecting the right to a clean environment, especially for those disproportionately exposed. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study on environmental injustice in Ethiopia, and the first in Sub-Saharan Africa to investigate the inequalities of ambient and household air pollution exposure as well as urban green space access in the same cohort.
- Miljömedicin och yrkesmedicin