Addis Ababa - Post Report Question and Answers

What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Pollution from traffic and the dry dusty atmosphere combined with high altitude = harder than usual for many people to breathe, especially asthmatics. - Aug 2020


Air quality is bad. Post provides an air purifier for each occupied bedroom. - Mar 2020


Bad, but not the worst I've seen. When it's dry there is dust. When it rains there is mold. People burn their garbage. Cars are not kept in good working order. Addis is located in a valley surrounded by mountains; therefore, the bowl effect traps the bad air. Religious holidays involve large fires. These days are terrible quality. Air purifiers are needed for you home. Check to see if they are provided by your embassy/agency/company. That said, those with breathing issues can and will find it difficult here. - Feb 2020


Terrible air quality everywhere but if you live at the embassy then they say it's good. Where we live in Old Airport it's terrible. Pollution from vehicles and a lot of dust in the air. - Feb 2019


Good to moderate, although I've heard the amount of cars has increased a lot since we left, so that might have affected the air quality. - Oct 2018


Bad and this is a post with heavy metal poisoning. Those with asthma or upper respiratory issues should not come here. The high altitude and poor air quality (much from diesel, lack of catalytic converters and burning trash) makes getting colds frequent and difficult to overcome. - Aug 2018


Bad air quality. It does have an impact on health. - Jul 2018


The pollution is really bad. We have purifiers in the house that we brought from home, and I am really happy we did. If you are in town it can be hard to breathe at times. - Jan 2018


Air quality is not good, due mainly to unfiltered vehicle exhaust and some trash burning, though certainly not at Beijing levels. You can check out the EPA air quality monitor readings here: https://airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=airnow.global_summary#Ethiopia$Addis_Ababa_Central.

The altitude (7000-8000 ft, depending on what part of town) can compound breathing issues, though most people eventually adjust. - Sep 2017


See above. Terrible. I don't know if it's are but it's terrible. I also had an issue when I first came with my contacts -- I started having pain and weird vision in one eye (I'm a contact wearer during the day, hard lenses). The physician here triaged me to an ophthalogist here - apparently western trained and very good. I ended up going to the States for work and was seen there. I had suffered some sort of corneal strangulation and subsequent scratching and deposition of some sort of bodies. Why did all this happen? Because we are at 7500 - 8000 feet AND it's filthy. FYI -my eye is fine but I don't wear contacts as much now, use a wetting solution/gel and bit the bullet on disposables. Those really helped and I think the money spent on them is worth it given we have a year left here. - Aug 2016


Poor. Addis is at altitude, and pollution and air quality is poor. During the rainy season, everyone seems to have constant respiratory infections, exacerbated by air quality. Post has recently started testing and advertising air quality. - Aug 2016


Depends on the neighborhood. At the embassy, pretty good. In the downtown area, where about 40% of embassy families live, it's pretty unhealthy. - Feb 2016


Generally OK; a lot of charcoal and trash burning so some mornings can be hazy. The combination with altitude gives some people problems. - May 2014


Air quality is awful on the streets due to vehicle emissions. Once or twice a year the city allows everyone to burn rubbish; when that happens, it's like an apocalyptic war zone and it's best to stay inside. Some people suffer from issues with the air but our family has had no issues. At work and at home the air usually seems crisp and clean. - Jan 2014


Good to moderate in general but very unhealthy on the roads with the vehicles spewing black exhaust. The air itself isn't that bad but the altitude compounds the issue especially for those with asthma or other respiratory problems. - Nov 2013


Pollution is growing. LOTS of exhaust from the ever growing car/truck population (traffic is awful). Car pollution + high altitude causes lung issues for many here. - Jun 2012


Unhealthy much of the time. Pretty nasty. Allergies are common. - Aug 2010


Unhealthy. Vehicle exhaust is not regulated, and the roads are crowded with older vehicles. In many parts of Addis, fires and construction are also issues. Outside of Addis, the air quality is much better. - Jun 2010


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