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Experts urge government to tackle emissions in cities

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Some environmentalists have urged the federal government to prioritize mitigation efforts on excessive vehicular emissions, which has become so rampant in Nigerian cities.

They said the government need to see the development as a top environmental problem that requires urgent attention from the nations and critical stakeholders.

The experts spoke with The Guardian in separate interviews. An environmentalist, who led the call, Dr. Okobia Efegbidiki, noted that the effect of emissions from vehicles on the environment and human health particularly in the Federal Capital Territory requires an urgent paradigm shift to boost the quality of air for residents.

He noted that the global scene is changing in management and approach on environmental issues, while Nigeria is still crawling amid ambient of polluted air in Abuja.

He said ìResearch shows that emission of carbon monoxide is as high as 250 ppm, and outdoor carbon dioxide is 731ppm. The issue has been continuous discuss for years, and the fact remains, ëwe cannot give what we do not haveí. Federal government of Nigeria and its environmental agencies do not have the equipment to adequately capture carbon emission data.î

On his part, David Ugolor of Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice stressed that it is possible for Nigeria to implement the low carbon emission by 2020 if political leadership decides to invest in the transition from dirty energy to clean energy.

He expressed hope that this transition is possible because other countries are already demonstrating the possibility, and are benefitting from such decision to reduce high sulphur contents.

Nigeria is one of the Africa countries that have signed the Paris Climate Change Agreement and they should also walk the talk and not to take back seat in pursuing policies that will help in the implementation.î

To him, the government needs to prioritize the policy on moving from dirty fuel to clean energy, and take significant decision to ban the importation of high-quality fuel, which is dangerous to the environment and humanity.

Speaking on the issue recently, the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed said, high sulphur levels in fuels, particularly, diesel is becoming a source of concern in Nigeria, and should be addressed to ensure sustainable development.

Government must consider the negatives consequences of using this and adopt realistic approach†by implementing the use of clean fuels; set achievable timeline for low sulphur fuels to protect the environment, human health and the economyî, she stated.

Mohammed also noted that sub-region was witnessing growth in population as a result of urbanization, in the last few decades, and it appears to be an imbalance between urban growth and availability of infrastructure support to reduce the impact of it on the environment.

She noted that globally, most countries have shown progress in reducing air pollution by moving to ultra-low sulphur fuels. However, West Africa shows to be the main sub-region where fuels with high sulphur content are in high use.


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