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Perceptions of air pollution by the inhabitants of Cameroon and France: convergences and differences Volume 18, issue 1, January-February 2019

Authors
1 Aix-Marseille Université, Université Côte d’Azur, Avignon Université, CNRS, ESPACE, UMR 7300
Europôle méditerranéen de l’Arbois
BP 80 bâtiment Laennec
Avenue Louis Philibert
13545 Aix en Provence Cedex 04
France
2 Université de Ngaoundéré
Département de sociologie
Dang
BP 454 Ngaoundéré
Amadaoua
Cameroun
3 Aix-Marseille Université
CNRS, IRD
INRA, coll France, CEREGE
Technopôle de l’Arbois-Mediterranée
BP 80
13545 Aix-en-Provence
France
4 Université Côte d’Azur, CNRS, ESPACE
98, boulevard Herriot
BP 3209
06200 Nice
France
* Tirés à part

The authors of this article interviewed residents of two urban areas (the city of Yaoundé in Cameroon and the former coal mining basin of Provence [in district of Bouches-du-Rhône], France) to examine their perceptions of air pollution.

Points of convergence on perceptions of this pollution appear in the responses of people in both areas, including what they called it, how they related it to the climate, and how they defined air quality. The responses of the residents of both study sites associated dust and odor and complained about the proximity of sources of pollution. On the other hand, perceptions of the impact of pollution on their health differed. In Yaoundé, people refer rarely to the impact of air pollution on health and consider factors perceived as promoting disease (cold, dust, and wind, for example) to be the real causes, which they often associate with the seasons. This is much less the case for the populations of the former coal mining basin of Provence, although the impact of pollution on allergies is probably overestimated. Their perceptions may be explained by the role played by the media in disseminating sometimes alarmist information on these subjects and, at the same time, by the increased awareness of environmental issues in the general population.

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