By Olasunkanmi Akoni
The Lagos State Government in partnership with the United States US, Consulate-General in Lagos has charged residents in particular and Nigerians in general to be more responsible and take ownership of their environment for improved air quality in the state.
Thet made the remark on Friday, during an advocacy walk/interactive session against air pollution in the metropolis, with the theme: “Our Health, Our Air Quality,”
Speaking on the importance of the walk which was titled “Eko For Clean Air”, the actingconsular (Consulate- General, Lagos), Mr. Bradon Hudspeth, reiterated the need for aggressive campaign to create more awareness on air pollution and further enlighten Lagos residents about vulnerability of the environment and consequences inherent in unfriendly activities against nature.
According to him, the U.S Government was partnering Lagos State Government in other to ensure clean and better air quality, revealing that the state would be supported with technical expertise to raise awareness, monitor air quality and also use collated data from monitoring to boost the economy of the state.
In his presentation, during an interactive session, Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, stated that seven million people died of air pollution across the world in 2019, hence, the need for improved air quality and friendly lifestyles.
”What we are trying to achieve here is good health. While the initiative is being driven through the Ministry of Environment, and its agency –Lagos State Envoronmental Protection Agency, LASEPA, who will regulate air quality, water quality, noise pollution, as the ultimate impact of bad air or bad water or excessive stress is poor health.
”When you breathe in polluted air, the pollutants go from your lungs into your bloodstream, and from your bloodstream to every part of your body, and earnestly degrades your health.
“The more we take care of our environment, the less we need to spend on our health care system, he said.
According to him, research has shown that the air quality in Nigeria and in Lagos is below standard, while enjoining the public to comply with all environmental guidelines and laws in other to spend less on medical care and also bequeath a safe and healthy society to generations yet unborn.
Dr Dolapo Fasawe, the General Manager, LASEPA, explained that the agency had been creating awareness on the issue of air pollution and charging residents to adopt a more friendly practices devoid of all forms of environmental degradations so as to promote a clean, safe and healthy environment.
“We continuously carry out advocacy and public education on various environmental issues across the various strata of the population.
“Our youth are engage to adopt a more sustainable lifestyles and champion environmental courses, through our school advocacy program.
“More zonal offices were also created to meet varied challenges confronting the state. Collectively we can win the battle against pollution,” Fasawe said.
She listed the following as measures to curb the tide of air pollution in the state, which include: Planting of trees to create more green areas, using only eco-friendly products, stopping open burning of refuse, regular servicing vehicles and generators, needed to tackle air pollution, to include, tree planting, servicing of vehicles and generators, using alternate mode of transportation (water ways/rails and practicing carpooling as well as reducing burning of fossil fuel (switching to gas, embracing renewable energy among others.
The Corps State, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Commander Olusegun Ogungbemide, Sector Commander, Lagos, lamented that the economic situation of the country has turned it into a dumping ground for ‘Tokunbo” cars, which have seen better days outside the country before its importation, thereby, constituting environmental nuisances and putting peoples life at risk.
‘We are collaborating with all relevant authorizes such as SON, Customs, etc, to curb the tide of vehicular emissions.”