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NCF, SETPOM push for measures to mitigate air pollution

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[FILES] Air Pollution

Disturbed by increasing effects of air pollution on human survival, environmentalists have proposed a shift toward use of renewable energy sources to tackle the menace headlong.

They argued that governments, industries, communities and individuals must come together and explore renewable energy options and green technologies for improving air quality. According to them, air pollution has become a major global environmental concern that calls for immediate action since human beings can’t exist without breathing.

Making the call during the 2019 world environment day organized by the Nigerian Conservative Foundation, the Director General, Dr. Muhtari Aminu-Kano harped on the need to use more efficient transport, enforce laws that limit emissions on the road, and create friendly way by which people could ride bicycles in cities like Lagos.

Statistics have shown that approximately 7million people worldwide die prematurely yearly from air pollution while the world bank recent study in collaboration with the Lagos state ministry of the environment estimated that the cost of air pollution in Lagos is about $4.9billion.

Aminu-Kano said authorities should tasked industries to pollute less by making stringent laws and ensuring that their managements comply with the laws. He lamented that more than 90per cent of people in the world are breathing polluted air, which is having effects that are not visible, but affecting the survival of the old and children.
On the effects, he said, “Documented cases show that lead pollution from cars affect the brain of children including babies. It takes time to accumulate but shows up in later years. The effects could be felt when generator fumes make people to cough or to even die in the extreme effect. People die due to carbon monoxide and another from generator fumes. It’s causing sickness and huge burden to the health system and people’s pocket because of asthma, heart and lung diseases. Pollution is also killing wildlife and forests as well as depriving people of means to address air pollution itself because trees are one of the solutions since they absolve all the poison from the air and then bring in oxygen, which we need for human life function”, he said.

In related development, environmentalists have called for collaborative efforts against gas flaring and all forms of air pollution in Nigeria.

They said air pollution is preventable but requires everyone on board from individuals and organizations to private companies and governments.

Speaking at a public lecture organised by SETPOM in commemoration of the World Environment Day at the University of Lagos, President, Society for Environmental Toxicology and Pollution Mitigation (SETPOM), Dr Funmilayo Doherty noted that the nation’s dependence on solid fuels for cooking, generators for power supply, open burning of waste and traffic pollution from very old cars, which are unregulated are major contributing factors.

According to her, it is important for Federal, State and Local governments to make urban air quality a health priority in Nigeria, stressing that health costs from air pollution-related diseases will reduce when air quality improves, and life expectancy will grow.

The Founder of SEPTOM, Prof Adebayo Otitoloju, said government should match its statements with actions as it concerns gas flaring because most of the government directives are political statements that could not be actualised because of lack of finance to actualise it.

He stressed the need for a synergy between the government and oil companies especially on joint ventures agreement to ensure improvement on environmental protection in the oil regions.

Also the keynote speaker and the manager, Community Relations, Addax petroleum Nigeria limited, Mr Julius Brown called for more local capacity in terms of refining our crude oil to reduce emission from our cars, because of the high sulphur laden refined crudes imported from overseas even though our swift crude is known for its lower sulphur contents.

He also advised that gas flaring could be reduced to the barest minimum if all parties work together because there are a lot of existing regulations to ensure increased gas utilisation.


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