BBC NEWS AT BBC.CO.UK/NEWS
Algeria became the last country on earth to halt the use of leaded gasoline, marking a step forward for global health and safety.
The toxic fuel has contaminated air, soil and water for almost a century. It can cause heart disease, cancer and strokes, and it has been linked to problems with brain development in children.
Many countries banned the fuel by the 1980s, but it was only in July 2021 that Algeria became the last country to ban it.
On the day of the switch-over, Nadil Rachid, president of Algeria’s Authority Regulating Hydrocarbons, said refineries for the national oil company had been working to produce additional unleaded gas to ensure that consumers “will not endure any tension” caused by supply shortfalls.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres called the eradication of leaded petrol “an international success story.”
“Ending the use of leaded petrol will prevent more than 1 million premature deaths each year from heart disease, strokes and cancer, and it will protect children whose IQs are damaged by exposure to lead,” he said.