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By Olasunkanmi Akoni

Lagos State Government and experts in environmental issues have identified four major contributors to ambient air pollution in the state and further highlighted robust initiatives in pursuit of clean air in the state.

Representatives of the state government and experts made the remarks at a webinar session in commemoration of the year 2021 International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies, held in Lagos.

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Meanwhile, the state government has expressed its commitment towards curbing air pollution through its various environmentally friendly policies and programmes in the state.

The state Commissioner for Health Prof. Akin Abayomi, in his presentation titled: “Air Quality and Air pollution Medical Implications,” reiterated the positive impact and actualization of the state health system goals in a friendly and uncontaminated environment.

Abayomi, in his address, therefore, called for holistic protection of the environment in other to prevent health issues, such as Respiratory, cardiovascular, systemic inflammation, and oncogenic potentials.

The commissioner, also warned against constant and long-time exposure to polluted air, saying: “It is important to note that social determinants of health (The environment, water, and air quality) play in managing the resources required to maintain the health system.

“It’s therefore pertinent that we take care of our environment so that we can spend less on our health care system.

“There is connectivity between man-animals-plants and their shared environment; therefore we must protect our environment and prevent disasters and ill health by avoiding constant and long-term exposure to polluted air,” Abayomi stated.

Earlier, Permanent Secretary (Office of Environmental Services) in the Ministry of Environment, Mrs. Belinda Odeneye, explained that the move was part of measures being taken by the government to ensure everyone can breathe clean air irrespective of his or her status or location in the state.

She said: “Lagos, as Africa’s fastest-growing Mega City, is confronted with myriads of environmental challenges, particularly from transportation, power, industrial activities, and waste management, hence, the determination to rid the state of all forms of pollution and bequeath to the people, a clean, safe, healthy and more friendly environment.

“Efforts to ensure a clean environment include the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system, tree planting and greening of open spaces, improvement in the management of dumpsites, the Blue and Red line Light Rail Mass Transit, advocacy, and public education, and installation of air quality monitoring equipment.

“Others are the development of a robust climate action plan, improvement in facilities compliance monitoring and review of existing laws and policies and development of new ones.”

Also, the General Manager, Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency, LASEPA, Dr. Dolapo Fasawe, recalled that Lagos State, in accordance with the 1996 Paris agreement on the international treaty on climate change, has taken the bull by the horn by establishing six air quality monitoring stations (LASEPA Hq, Jankara-Lagos Island, Unilag-Akoka, Ikorodu, Abesan-Ipaja, and Lekki), data gathering on air pollution to establish causes and sources of pollutions and the development of State Clean Air Action Plan 2021-2025 (LA-CAAP 2021-2025).

According to Fasawe: “As a government, we are more determined to systematically tackle the environmental menace and combat global warming, climate change and importantly secure the health of our people and the environment as a whole.

“To drive home our zero tolerance on air pollution, manufacturing companies, particularly, within residential areas must provide detailed environmental management policy, action and clean-up plans with a bias for staff safety and consideration for host communities.”

The webinar also had in attendance, renowned environmental experts such as Prof. Babajide Alo ( Air Pollution and The Climate Change Threat), Mr. Sean Melbourne (Rethinking Partnerships for Air Pollution Between the City of Lagos and the City of London), Mrs. Wunmi Ogunde – (Embracing Zero-Emission Technologies and Solutions for Development in Lagos).

Others include Dr. Mofoluso (Air Quality Monitoring Source Apportionment in Identifying Major Sources of Particulate Matter Pollution in Lagos, Nigeria) and Mr. Stanley who respectively in unison agreed that to protect the environment, there must be an attitudinal change, self-regulation, and all-inclusive policies in addition to government determination and commitment.

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