Lagos tasks residents on clean air quality, livable environment
To curtail environmental degradation and the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) and Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) have urged residents to sustain clean air quality and environment as one of the necessary measures to contain its spread.
General Manager of the agency, Dr Dolapo Fasawe disclosed this in a statement to commemorate this year’s World Earth Day in Lagos, a day set aside to show support for environmental protection.
She said there is no better time to be reminded of the importance of a cleaner environment other than this period when a global lockdown is in force occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to her, studies conducted around the world have demonstrated that there has been improved air quality in various cities since the order on restriction in vehicular movement and industrial activities was implemented. Further to this, she observed that cities with poorer air quality are reported to be experiencing higher COVID-19 mortality rates.
“This is not surprising as higher incidences of respiratory diseases, one of the key corollaries of COVID-19 infection, have long been associated with areas with high air pollution. In Nigeria, the most vulnerable group to air pollution-linked respiratory diseases are women, who cook with firewood and are exposed to road side vehicular movement.”
She disclosed that LASEPA is currently carrying out investigations on air quality during this period, to better understand the impact of industrial and economic activities on the air we breathe.”We are also partnering with multilateral organisations to lay the foundation for a robust air quality management system in Lagos state, which would provide real-time air quality data for Lagosians. The outcome of these activities will further strengthen policies toward Climate Action as directed by the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources,” she said.
Fasawe also said COVID-19 pandemic has shown what a unified community can achieve, as corporate organisations and private individuals have dug deep and donated resources to assist the government in managing and conquering the pandemic.
LAWMA Managing Director, Dr. Muyiwa Gbadegesin, stressed that human activities have dire consequences on the environment.He said that burning of fossil fuel, deforestation and illegal dumping of waste are major contributors of methane gas, a greenhouse gas twenty times more potent than Carbon-dioxide, which has the cumulative effect of triggering global warming.
He said that the state is using the celebration to create awareness on the need for cleanliness, environmental sustainability and protection, in the face of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Gbadegesin pointed out the need for attitudinal change among residents as it relates to the environment, adding that negative environmental practices like waste burning and indiscriminate refuse disposal pose serious hazard, not just to the environment, but also people that live in it.
The LAWMA boss further appealed to residents to support efforts of the Authority in ensuring that every part of the metropolis was kept clean during and after the lockdown period, adding that PSP operators had been mandated to provide effective services to all tenements in the state.
“We won’t rest on our oars until every part of Lagos is properly sanitized. We have provided our operational team with personal protection equipment (PPE), to boost efforts to rid the state of black spots. So I appeal to residents to bag their wastes for subsequent evacuation by their assigned PSP operators”, he added.