The adoption of low sulphur diesel - at 500 parts per million (ppm) sulphur - by Kenya and Tanzania is set to result in cleaner diesel for the Eastern Africa region.
To mark this move, the USEPA Assistant Administrator Ms Michelle DePass, the United Nations Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director Mr. Achim Steiner, Kenyan Assistant Minister for Petroleum Energy Hon. Magerer Lang’at, and the Assistant Minister for Environment and Natural Resources Hon. Ramadhan Kajembe participated in an event on 18 Feb 2011 at the UN Petrol Station at Gigiri.
The event, aimed at recognizing this progress, also called for further reduction of sulphur levels in fuels to 50ppm and for segregation of the low sulphur diesel for major cities which have the highest concentration of vehicle fleets.
This move to low sulphur diesel by the two countries will have a significant impact on diesel vehicle emissions in the whole of the Eastern Africa region as the neighbouring countries of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and to some extent the northern part of Democratic Republic of Congo and Southern Sudan import petroleum fuels through Kenya and Tanzania. Low sulphur fuels reduce the levels of air pollutants emitted by vehicles – such as sulphur oxides, soot and smoke particles – which, among other health risks, can trigger respiratory and cardiovascular diseases and pose an increased risk of lung cancer. Low sulphur fuels also allow the use of emission-reducing technologies in vehicles.