By Mike Angere

…Polluting the air we breath

While the Lagos State government is doing a wonderful job of creating open and green spaces in the city and encouraging homeowners to plant trees on the grounds of their houses, It is most disheartening   to see a blind eye turned to the great number of vehicles belching fumes on the roads.

The dangers of inhaling Carbon-monoxide may not be an on-the-spot hazard like getting ran over by a car or truck but nonetheless a very insidious one. It should not surprise anyone that there is a gradual increase in chronic respiratory cases in Lagos.

Being a third World Country is chiefly the reason we should strive to improve the  quality  of the  air  we breathe. We can’t afford the increased health cost therefore we must aim for prevention which is infinitely cheaper than cure.

Cities like New Delhi and Beijing with alarming levels of vehicular smoke are coming up with measures to curtail the menace.

Just the number of vehicles on the roads alone is a cause for concern not necessarily that they are smoking. CNN recently carried the story of the authorities of New Delhi wanting to cut back on the number of certain classes of tricycles (Keke Marwa) which abound in that city, so as to reduce the bad  quality  of  air.

The head of the New Delhi Centre for Science and Environment, Sunita Narain has  a Campaign going to cut back on the dangerous levels of  air  pollution for nearly two decades. In spite of opposition from many quaters she and her team have succeeded in getting some of their Key recommendations accepted by the Courts.

We must have our very own Sunita Narain who will be sedulously fighting and reminding us all of that good  air quality  should know no compromise.

Here in Lagos we have the twin evils of too many vehicles and a great number of them fouling up the  air  quality. A smoking vehicle is a mechanical problem that can be fixed. But uninformed vehicle owners not getting punished for the harm of abusing the atmosphere do not care a hoot about fixing their offending vehicles.

LASTMA and VOI get very highhanded with motorists. They are scarcely known for cautioning drivers. They are quick to get the least infringement punished by fines. Fine, but why the lack of warning against smoke spewing vehicles. This smacks of a certain level of backwardness in our make up as a people.

Lagos State and the rest of the country think that it is a lesser evil for rickety vehicles to be ruining the  air  we breathe. Aside from vehicles with  air  conditioning, occupants of those without and pedestrians are the most at risk on the streets of Lagos.

A couple of years ago a friend returning to Lagos from Accra, Ghana remarked to some friends to my hearing: Where are the smoking vehicles? He was visibly impressed with the Ghanaian Capital’s cleanliness and obvious  air quality  .But I am sure the Ghanaian themselves know they could improve on the situation.

The degradation of the environment is a big, big deal Worldwide-ie: Global warning and emissions. Less than two years ago the V.W. motor Manufacturing Company for falsifying on levels of emissions from cars sold to the public, suffered a colossal fine and recalled the vehicles for upgrading. Now those were brand new cars.

Nigeria, is not only the largest economy on the continent, it is also the most populous. So why should it be beyond us to do better than good for ourselves. We run the risk of too many people going down in health if we don’t gird up our loins to start acting.

The sheer number of high rises and the gigantic generators needed to work the elevators of these buildings are also huge contributors to the bad  air  quality  of this city.- Lagos

I do not think any African country outstrips Nigeria in generators on account of the less than adequate generating of electricity. Life is for living and health is the most important component of life. So, the powers-that-be of Lagos should sit up and do all that is possible for improved air. Otherwise, the city being the Centre of Excellence will be meaningless.


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