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 pollution

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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