Environmental quality and economic growth: Searching for environmental Kuznets curves for air and water pollutants in Africa
This study investigated the relationship between per capita income and environmental degradation in Africa, using longitudinal data on suspended particulate matter and organic water pollutants. The specific objective was to estimate environmental Kuznets curves for two indicators of environmental quality and to establish whether the estimated relationships conform to the inverted U-shape hypothesis. The results of the empirical investigation generally suggest the existence of an environmental Kuznets curve for suspended particulate matter. In the case of organic water pollutants, the evidence weighs more in favor of rising pollution as per capita income increases. The turning point levels of income established for the two indicators of environmental quality were however generally low, when compared to evidence from existing studies. On the face value, this suggests that African countries may be turning the corner of the environmental Kuznets curve, much faster, and at lower levels of income, much in line with the emerging idea of a "revised environmental Kuznets curve". The results also suggest that economic growth and rising incomes may matter in African countries in order to curb pollution from these pollutants, but more stringent policy measures, particularly at the industrial level would be required to curb environmental degradation from organic water pollutants.
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