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Experts seek mitigation measures to curb climate change impacts

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Environmentalists have called on the Federal Government to adopt fresh measures for the mitigation of climate change impacts in the post COVID-19 era. 
 
They said Nigeria is plagued with diverse ecological problems that have been linked to climate change, hence, the need for action. According to them,
the effect of climate change is making the environment warmer, dryer and conducive for pests and disease in the country.
 
The experts spoke at the 2020 International Virtual Conference of the Society for Environmental Toxicology and Pollution Mitigation SETPOM, themed: “Interconnectedness: Implications for Covid-19 and Environmental Concerns.”
 

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Setting the tone for discussion, SETPOM President, Dr. Nnamdi Amaeze, who said the environment is rich in opportunities that can lead to employment of youths, called for its conservation and protection for generations unborn.
 
He said the conference is an opportunity for academics, industrialists, regulators, researchers and students to interact on environmental issues of local and global concerns.
 
Director and Chief Executive, Centre for Atmospheric Research, National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Prof. Babatunde Rabiu, said climate change has altered the natural hydrological calendar to the extent that life cycle of most insects and pests are no longer controlled or disrupted with the onset of rainfall.
    
In his keynote address, Prof. Rabiu said the inconsistency in rainfall pattern has strengthened the lifespan of those biological pests and resulted in the destruction of forest and agricultural crops.
 
“Rainfall is becoming unpredictable and decreasing on the average, which also differ significantly from 1971-2005,” he said.
 
Coastal region, Rabiu said, has experienced slightly increasing rainfall since the early 1970s and August break (short-dry-season) is currently being experienced more in July as against August in the Savannah ecology. He added, “the Southern ecological zone of Nigeria largely known for high rainfall is currently confronted by irregularity in the rainfall pattern.”
 
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He further revealed that the Northern zone faces the threat of desert encroachment at a very fast rate per year, while coastal areas are becoming vulnerable to incessant floods, destruction of mangrove ecosystems and transmission of water borne diseases that lead to displacement and communal crisis. 
  
Speaking on indoor air pollution, the Manager, Community Relations, Addax Petroleum, Julius Brown, said prior COVID-19, about 4.3 million people died yearly from exposure to indoor air pollutants, while COVID era is expected to increase the number.

His words: “Out   of the number of exposure to household air pollutants, 34 per cent perish from stroke, 26 per cent died of heart disease, 22 per cent from, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, while pneumonia and lung cancer account for 12per cent and six per cent of the deaths respectively.
 
He stressed that women and young children, who spend most time at home, are more vulnerable as more than 50 per cent of pneumonia deaths among children under five years are linked to household air pollution.
 
To mitigate indoor air pollution, Brown called for avoidance of smoking indoors, keeping burning of fossil fuel outdoors and use of a dehumidifier and/or air conditioner to reduce moistures.

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