Air and waste pollution are environmental problems in Chad.

The most recent data indicates the country's annual mean concentration of PM2.5 is 66 µg/m3 which exceeds the recommended maximum of 10 µg/m3 [1]Moreover, due to the composition of waste (plastics, waste tires, and other organic/inorganic materials), and the common practice of unregulated waste burning, waste becomes  a source of health impairing emissions such as dioxins and furans. Key transport-related air quality challenges (ex: vehicle growth, old fleet, dirty fuel, poor public transport etc.) are a major source of PM, NO2 and CO.

Wood and charcoal provide 90% of the energy consumed in Chad, though natural gas which consumption is on the rise, growing from 69 metric tons in 1999 to 367 metric tons in 2004. Only 2.2% of households use electricity, with only 12% having access in the capital and 1% in provincial areas, with indoor air pollution causing an estimated 9,600 premature deaths every year [2].

Dust storms originating in Chad are also viewed as a key component of change in some terrestrial and marine ecosystems and as a potentially significant source of pathogens and contaminants (Ila 2006). About half of the 40 million metric tonnes of dust that are swept across the Atlantic from the Sahara to the Amazon each year come from the Bodele Depression in Chad (NASA 2007a).


Air pollution from indoor sources is the single largest contributor to the negative health effects of air pollution in Chad.  Another cause of the deterioration of air quality in urban centers is the outdoor uncontrolled waste burning, which is a common practice. In general, contributors to poor air quality in Chad include the oil, textile, and meatpacking industries, vehicle emissions, and waste burning [1].

Moreover, in the country, 100% of the installed electricity generating capacity (31,000 KW in 2010) is generated from fossil fuel.

Pollution from the mining industry and petroleum extraction poses a threat to freshwater and its wildlife in the country.

The Bodele Depression, located at the southern edge of the Sahara Desert in north-central Africa, is one of the largest sources of airborne dust in the world. Nested between two mountain ranges in Chad and downwind from a natural wind tunnel, the Bodele Depression provides a steady supply of Saharan dust plumes.


Key policies and governance approach

Study conducted in 2015 by UNEP indicates the lack of policies and governance approaches to control pollution. In fact, National Ambient air quality standards and National Air Quality legislation are either not formulated and/or not enforced. Actions to prevent open burning of municipal waste and agricultural waste are still lacking.

Leaded gasoline restrictions were introduced in 2004 together with restrictions on used car importation with national emission standards at 2000 ppm for diesel and 500 ppm for petrol [3].


Successes and remaining challenges

With the support of the United Nations system, the country has implemented household waste management services in refugee sites and in some host communities, mainly in Sila, Wadi Fira, Salamat, allowing 74% of households to have access to an adequate service.

However, waste management activities still exist to a partial extent in the country. Some waste streams such as municipal solid waste (MSW) are addressed by policies and institutions. The priority is still to improve the knowledge of the sector and put in place effective waste collection and treatment actions such as the recovery of methane generated in managed landfills [4].

Emission regulations for industries, incentives for clean production and installation of pollution prevention technologies, actions to ensure compliance with regulations: (monitoring, enforcement, fines etc. are still lacking in the country.   

Chad is also trying to promote non-grid/grid electrification, cleaner cooking fuels and clean cook stoves, as well as other actions to reduce indoor biomass burning, or to reduce its emissions.


Initiatives and Development Plans

According to a study conducted in 2015 by UNEP, Chad lacks in policies and governance approaches to control pollution. However, some promotion for actions to reduce emissions are taking place [3].


Goals and Ambitions

The National Poverty Reduction Strategy places special significance on strategies to ensure sustainable growth by developing infrastructure to support power generation, making electricity available to users at a more reasonable cost, and promoting alternative sources of energy (solar, wind, etc.) to limit the cutting of firewood, which is exacerbating desertification and pollution. The establishment of a national waste management policy is crucial in terms of public health and development of the country. The conditional scenario considers the establishment of plants of waste treatment in large urban centers with a reduction impact estimated at around 10% of emissions linked to solid waste management [5].

  • The establishment of a national waste management policy is crucial in terms of public health and development of the country.
  • Further support is required for monitoring pollution and changes in natural resources linked to changes in air and water quality.
  • Large scale promotion of alternative sources of energy (non-grid/grid electrification, cleaner cooking fuels and clean cook stoves, solar, wind, etc.) in place of firewood and charcoal is required.
  • Wastewater treatment especially in urban areas and the implementation of waste composting needs to be developed as part of national integrated and sustainable waste management strategy.
  • Enforcement and regulation of industrial and vehicle emissions requires strengthening by incorporating higher standards of industrial and vehicular emissions.