The United Nations Environment Programme has announced the official end of leaded petrol, as of August 30.
Environmental organisation Greenpeace Africa says this global achievement comes after a refinery in Algeria phased out the toxic additive. The refinery was the last in the world to use the additive.
“Leaded fuel (tetraethyllead) has been causing ecosystem degradation, deaths and severe health issues, including for children. In the past two decades, leaded fuel was still commonly used across low-income countries,” the organisation states.
For Greenpeace, the end of leaded petrol is more than a celebration of the end of one toxic era. “The phase-out of leaded petrol in Algeria is a testament to the world’s ability to achieve a common goal together,” comments Greenpeace Africa climate and energy campaigner Thandile Chinyavanhu.
She notes that it clearly shows that if one of the most dangerous polluting fuels in the twentieth century can be phased out, so can all fossil fuels.
“Africa’s governments must give no more excuses for the fossil fuel industry. Pulling off a just transition from dirty coal and other fossil fuels in South Africa and elsewhere in the continent will protect community health, avoid catastrophic climate change and ensure decent employment for the youth,“ Chinyavanhu says.
The Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles has helped to eliminate leaded petrol in all of the 86 countries that were using it up until a few years ago. Leaded petrol was banned by European regulation in 2000.
Going forward, the partnership will focus on regional harmonisation of clean fuels and vehicle standards.