Drivers of Air pollution in Nigeria, challenges and solution.

Environmental pollution is popular in Nigeria and
perpetrators have been getting away without any recourse until recently.
Environmental pollution include oil spillage, sooth rain, indiscriminate
dumping of waste and the new entrant plastic litter which affect land and
blocking water flow while a large chunk end up in the deep ocean.

In order word, Environmental pollution can be water, air or
land based pollution. The dramatic growth in the rate of pollution owing to
increase population viz a viz rise in consumption coupled with increase
environmental right awareness has help to bring the issue of environmental
degradation to lime light.

Not until now environmental pollution and it mitigation
effort has been the purview of UNEP, few NGOs and few affected people. However
trajectory has shifted and large number of the populace now see environmental pollution
as a serious issue as it has economic, social and health implications.

This year’s world Environment day focuses on Air pollution
with the theme breatheth every year
errands the launch of environmental agenda to be pursue by UNEP, civil
societies, policy maker, researchers, indigenous people etc.

Life air healthy future. June 5

The statistics to galvanized support for this year’s theme
were mind burgling “as 7 Million death annually are linked to air pollution.
Also 9 out of 10 people worldwide do not breathe safe air; in addition over 80%
of urban residents are exposed to air pollution levels that exceed WHO limits.

The case for air pollution is worse for developing countries
like Nigeria where there are no serious efforts to monitor air pollution. Many
innocent lives have been lost to poisonous emissions from gadgets as
Generators. In some cases family members  died and sometimes a whole generation has been
wiped off by breathing poison from carbon monoxide; a poisonous gas emitted
from generator known in locale parlance as i-better-pass-my-neighbor.

Another silent killer of youth and the elderly in populous
cities as Lagos is emission from automobile in form of co, N2o and
So2 among others. With over 5 million cars and 200,000 commercial
vehicles on the roads (when the national average is 11 vehicles per kilometer);
Lagos daily records an average of 227 vehicles per kilometer of road. The
intensity of emission even increase with heavy traffic jam which is a normal
occurrence in cities as Lagos, Abuja and a few other state capitals. Breathing
of toxic air is not only harmful to the lungs, it combine with blood hemoglobin
to form  dangerous compound with arrested
breathing and lead to paralysis, partial strokes and other heart related
diseases. 2.4 million Death due to heart disease worldwide are linked to air

Justice cannot be done to pollution without mentioning the
major contributor the industries and manufacturing plants. Since industries
major location priorities is nearness to market; most industries’ plant are
cluster around major cities as Abuja, Aba, Lagos, Port-Harcourt etc. Their production
and the need to meet market demand for consumers’ goods increase the
externality effect majorly air pollution.  

In Nigeria, majority of industries run on 24 hours diesel
generators pumping millions ppt of carbon-monoxide and other poisonous gases
into the air. Industry is the leading polluter of our common good ”the Air” ;
unfortunately they are the most complacent; doing business in an irresponsible
manner; while government turns blind eye to their impact because they know how
to circumvent the system.

The tons of polluted air emitted by industries pose great
risk to the host communities; passerby and factory workers. Plant, birds and
other animals are not spared from the harmful effect of environmental pollution.
Air pollution form industry sources are the greatest driver of extinction
threatening the survival of important flora and fauna.

To mitigate against the negative impact of air pollution the
Sustainable Environment Food and Agriculture Initiative has been on the
vanguard in Nigeria to bring the issue to the fore. For example in January,
2019 the organization organized an environment summit where all stakeholder
were invited to discuss the issue of environmental pollution in Lagos, state,
Nigeria. The NGO has also embark on school awareness campaign project, tree
planting exercise, ocean ups,  pressure
industries to act responsibly as well as dialogue with government on how to
improve environmental policy in Nigeria.

To arrest this ugly trend of environmental pollution in
Nigeria; avoid losses of life because of air pollution and save needless cost
on treatment from harmful effect of air pollution; the following
recommendations were suggested.

Regular monitoring of rate of pollution; gathering emission data

There should be enactment, implementation and enforcement of
Rules, guidelines as well as laws on environmental pollution; specifically
emissions from anthropogenic activities.

Polluters pay scheme: pollution from industry should not be
left unabated as they are compel to pay taxes to government for their emission.

Introduction of environmental tax

Fixing power problems as this will go a long way in curbing
air pollution.

There must be awareness creation through the inclusion of
environmental Education into the National school curriculum from elementary
schools up to university level.

Massive afforestation programme to  plant trees that help carbon sequestering and
air purification.

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