East Africa gets into gear for cleaner, greener fuel
Transition to low-sulphur diesel and cleaner vehicles could achieve US$6 billion in health savings for Sub-Saharan Africa each year
Nairobi, 18 February 2011 - In a move that is set to improve air quality and reduce vehicle emissions across East Africa, Kenya has officially launched its transition to low-sulphur diesel. Containing only 5% of the amount of sulphur present in Kenya's previous diesel supply, the cleaner fuel is already available in limited stations and will soon be present in pumps across the country.
This new milestone for cleaner fuel in East Africa is the result of the work of the Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles (PCFV) - the leading global initiative to promote cleaner and more efficient fuels and vehicles in developing countries. Co-ordinated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and supported by the governments of the USA, the Netherlands, Canada and other partners, PCFV focuses on three global campaigns: reducing sulphur in vehicle fuels, eliminating leaded gasoline and adopting cleaner vehicle standards and technologies.
Sulphur levels in diesel and petrol differ dramatically across the globe. While many developed countries have already set standards for sulphur levels in diesel as low as 10 parts per million (ppm), sulphur levels in some developing countries can be as high as 10,000 ppm.
Kenya's new standard of 500ppm became the lowest in East Africa when imports started in October 2010. Tanzania soon followed suit and began introducing 500ppm diesel last month. Kenya's low-sulphur standard will also have a significant impact in countries to which it exports diesel, such as Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
To mark Kenya's switch to low-sulphur, United Nations Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner joined Michelle DePass, Assistant Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) at the United Nations petrol station in Nairobi.