Nairobi - A campaign group, Public Eye, has criticised Swiss firms for their links to African trade in diesel with toxin levels that are illegal in Europe, BBC reports.
According to the report, firms were exploiting the weak regulatory terms in Africa and were trading fuel that had been deemed beneath an adequate regulatory standard in Europe.
Vitol, Trafigura, Addax & Oryx and Lynx Energy were named as shareholders of the fuel retailers, with Trafigura and Vitol calling the report misconceiving as they worked within the legal limits set within those countries.
Health experts, however, said that even though the firms operated within regulatory regulations, the high amount of sulphur contained in the fumes of diesel fuel could increase respiratory illness such as asthma and bronchitis.
Several African countries still allowed diesel to have a sulphur content of more than 2 000 parts per million (PPM), with some allowing more than 5 000ppm whereas in Europe, the regulatory standard was less than 10ppm.
Analysts also believed that cleaner diesel would prove to be more expensive and therefore, unsustainable in developing countries.
The UN Environmental Programme said it was now attempting to persuade governments to tighten the sulphur content regulations, adding that the progress was gradually being made.
News24 said in April that fuel shortages have been reported across African countries such as Nigeria where a leading financial think-tank had warned of the implications.
- News 24