May 27, 2024

Nigerians urged to cease black market fuel purchase amid environmental concerns

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By Favour Ulebor, Abuja

In a collaborative effort aimed at addressing environmental concerns and promoting sustainable practices, the Environmental Health Council of Nigeria, ECHON, in partnership with 3DATX Africa, has urged citizens to refrain from purchasing fuel from the black market.

During a vehicular emission testing exercise conducted on Thursday in Abuja, The General Manager of 3DATX Africa, Mr. Matthew Sulieman, emphasized on the adverse effects of black market fuel on both vehicles and the environment; stating that the importance of purchasing fuel from authorized sources is to prevent damage to vehicles and reduce pollution levels.

Earlier, ECHON in partnership with 3DATX Africa, a US-based organization specializing in vehicular emission testing, launched a device for measuring emission gases, measuring particles, carbon monoxide, Sulphur coming out from vehicles. The initiative comes as part of a broader strategy to combat greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change.

He said unlike other countries, the benchmark for vehicular emission testing would be high to make sure cars in Nigeria meet the standard requirements.

Sulieman said, “there’s a lot of sulfur in the fuel, We’ll put the benchmark for failure a bit higher, but when you buy from the black market, and you come and you fail your test, and we say to you, look you failed, and it’s because of you’re using black market, so go to a petrol station and come back and you’ll get a pass, then we’re slowly educating people. We have to realize that buying black market fuel is even more expensive, it’s not the same like the petrol station.

“They mix things with it, and when they mix those things with it, it’s extra pollutants for the environment. So, that’s why I said we don’t need black market for fuel. Yes, we’re trying to educate Nigerians to stop polluting the environment by buying substandard goods, substandard fuel, putting it in your car, and we can prove it to you.”

The Registrar of EHCON, Dr. Yakubu Baba, while highlighting the significance of the project in monitoring greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in Nigeria, said it will soon commence vehicular emission testing on imported vehicles to ascertain their level of emission.

He said the deployment of smart testing devices marks a pivotal step towards enhancing air quality monitoring and mitigating the adverse health effects associated with pollution.

Baba emphasized the project’s cost-effectiveness, noting that the initiative aligns with Nigeria’s commitments under the Paris Agreement, which aims to reduce emissions and promote environmental sustainability.

He encouraged state governments to get on board, and see the initiative as an opportunity for revenue enhancement, GHG emission reduction, and improved public health outcomes.

Baba said, “This project is conceptualized by the Environmental Health Council; This is the first time we are bringing a smart and also portable device to be able to monitor GHG emissions in Nigeria. After the measurement you can see the result, Within five minutes the result is out. And this result is what is verifiable, that is measurable and also evidence-based.

“And for any state or federal government or local government to access climate finance,it is a requirement that anything you are doing must be evidence-based, must be verifiable, and the data is genuine. We can see that everybody as an individual is committed as far as the Paris Agreement is concerned, which indicates that Nigeria has signed an agreement that we are going to reduce our emission level between now and 2030.

“So we want to commit all Nigerians also, it is not only the government that is responsible, even you as an individual, you need to know your carbon footprints. And you can achieve that through making sure that your vehicle has passed this vehicular testing, so that you are not contributing significantly to the GHG emission in Nigeria. The benefit for the state is to enhance their revenue and reduce their GHG emission. Also, they will also get the opportunity to tap from the redundant funds that are available within the framework of climate change finance, which is very critical.”

The registrar said the vehicular testing project would be scaled up in six pilot states within the six geopolitical zones. He identified some of the states as FCT, Cross River, Abia, Kano and Borno.

In his words, Technical Officer Public Health & Environment WHO Nigeria, Edwin Isotu Edeh said, ” Air pollutants are a killer and are the cause of many non-communicable diseases including cancer, and high blood pressure. We are excited that we are invited by the leadership of the ECHON, for this wonderful initiative and we will provide support and our clinical guidance”.