Nigeria turns spotlight on air pollution at World Environment Day
Piqued by the disastrous effects of air pollution on humans and plants, environmental experts have advocated the enactment of clean Air Act to ensure a composite action against it.
With the economic impact of air pollution estimated to reach $2.2 trillion in 2060 globally, a legislative instrument, they said, should be used to fight the scourge with the Lagos State House of Assembly brazing the trail.
Founder, African Environmental Action Network (EANet-Africa), and former Head of Climate Change, Federal Ministry of Environment, Dr. Victor Fodeke, led the advocacy at the 2019 World Environment Day (WED) celebration organised by the Lagos State Ministry of the Environment.
Fodeke, who was a guest speaker in the event themed: “ Air Pollution – A Matter of Grave Concern”, noted that the Act exist in the United States, and was enacted through the advocacy of a legislator.
Also a member of the Nigerian Environmental Society (NES), and Director in the Lagos State Ministry of Environment, Mrs. Ronke Oduneye, who represented the Permanent Secretary at the event, said Lagos hosts about 60 per cent of the country’s industries and ranked among the top importers of power generating sets in the world with imports projected to reach $450 million in 2020.
According to the statistics of the energy agency, road transportation accounts for 91 per cent of the total consumption of petroleum products in Nigeria with the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) identifying Lagos State as the largest consumer of petroleum products, with 31 per cent of diesel and 16 percent of gasoline consumption in 2017 alone.
She therefore urged Lagosians to form new habits of protecting the air and the environment, stressing that a better environment can be more attainable if it becomes a way of life.
Similarly, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Abiodun Bamgboye, has implored Lagosians to join in the advocacy for a better climate through planting of trees in their surroundings.
Speaking at the launch of Danone (Fan Milk) One Planet One Health in Nigeria, and tree planting ceremony to make the WED, Mr. Bamgboye said the act of tree planting would help slow down the earth’s depleting ozone layer and boost healthy living.
According to Bamgboye, corporate efforts like tree planting and constructing drainages can make the difference in alleviating air pollution.
Founder of Danone, Antoine Riboud, said: “The WED, strongly reminded us that we have a duty to look after our planet, our home, for a sustainable environment.”
Managing Director, Fan Milk Nigeria, Herve Barrere, noted that One Planet One Health initiative is for sustainable business practices, ensuring that business activities do not have a negative effect on immediate communities and the planet.
He said the firm in line with the theme for this year’s WED which is to combat air pollution, has in partnership with LASPARK, adopt and beautify a roundabout as well as plant 100 trees in commemoration of 100 years of Danone.
In a related development, Climate and Sustainable Development Network (CSDeVNet) has urged government to take immediate action to check the menace of air pollution to save the lives of citizens.
The group said, it was the responsibility of government and individuals to take action to explore renewable energy and green technologies to improve air quality in the country.
A statement by Dr Ibrahim Choji to commemorate 2019 World Environment Day, stated that air pollution was man- made problem.
On his part, Director General, Nigerian Meteorological Agency, Prof. Sanni Mashi regretted that over 114,000 people died from air pollution in Nigeria in 2017, the highest in Africa. He said Nigeria needs effective legislation to set up observation all stations nationwide.
Mashi also explained that air pollution was mixing of unwanted and harmful substances such as chemical, dust, auto emissions, suspended particles gas among others in the atmosphere.
He equally added that equipment will be installed in Kano, Enugu, Lagos, Katsina and Borno stressing that agency was proposing to increase the number of its air quality monitoring stations to other synoptics stations in future.