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Nigeria: Fighting Against Pollution in Lagos

Lagos — More Nigerians currently depend on generators to power business and homes. Consequently, instances of fumes emitted and discharged right into the streets are common, a situation that is occasioned by the epileptic power supply in the country.

Experts consider the emissions highly dangerous given that they constitute danger to healthy living since they end up polluting the airways. They are also primary air pollutants because the fumes are emitted directly into the airways while the average residents and passersby inhale them daily.

The situation is actually compounded by the failure of the Power Holding Company of Nigerian (PHCN) to supply the needed power to run businesses in the country. Consequently, most businesses are powered by generators. And apart from the air pollution, noise pollution is said to have resulted in hearing losses for some 7.2 million Nigerians; representing 17.9 percent of the population aside the health implications.

It is also stated that prolonged exposure to intense noise leads to permanent hearing loss; induces stress; causes inefficiency at work; prevents sleep; causes irritability and generally degrades the quality of life.

According to Akeem Bello of the faculty of Law, University of Lagos, one of the principal sources of noise pollution in the state is neighbourhood noise which he defined as ‘great variety of sources of noise which may cause disturbance and noise to the general public not including road traffic and aircraft noise and industrial noise affecting workers and residents’.

He added that the impact of neighbourhood noise is more on densely populated cities like Lagos.

‘In a typical densely polluted urban area, the picture is one of a thick cloud of noise coming from a variety of sources. The sources include loud noise emanating from loudspeakers used by record stores; generating plants; pumping machines; grinding machines; television sets; musical sets; intruder alarms; night parties; churches and mosques,” he said.

The University lecturer noted that with the proliferation of religious places of worship, noise emanating from religious activities has been one of the primary sources of neighbourhood noise in the state.

He also identified others sources of air pollution in the state to road traffic and vehicular emissions

“It is estimated that Lagos has the highest national vehicular density of over 222 vehicles per kilometer against a country average of 11/kilometers while the growth of the use of motorcycles popularly known as okada has also greatly increased the problem of air pollution,” Bello noted.

However, as part of efforts at curbing neighbourhood noise pollution, the Lagos State Government through the Ministry of the Environment issued a ministerial directive to all religious houses to confine their loudspeakers inside their places of worship to the auditoriums.

And recently its efforts received a boost when West African Gas Pipeline Company (WAGPC) donated noise measuring meter and other equipment to it.

The equipment, which will help the Ministry to measure the level of noise generated from industrial and residential areas, will assist in reducing noise pollution to the barest minimum in order to safeguard the health of the citizenry.

WAGPC Corporate Affairs Manager, Mrs. Harriet Wereko-Brobby, who led the delegation, said the donation was a way of appreciating government’s effort at attaining sustainable environment devoid of pollution and degradation.

“The items will help the Ministry measure the level of noise at any time,” she said.

Stressing that noise level at any point in time, should not be more than 85 decibels, she noted that anything above that was capable of negatively affecting the health of the people.

She lauded the Ministry on its beautification, drainage, sanitation and landscaping projects, noting that, those projects would go a long way in combating the menace of climate change which she noted is at present the problem confronting the whole World.

Dr. Titilayo Anibaba, the Permanent Secretary in Ministry of the Environment who received the equipment thanked the company for its concerns for the environment and healthy living of the citizens.

She urged the management of the company to do more in the areas of capacity building and exchange programmes that would benefit both parties.

Anibaba explained that the issue of noise pollution has reached an alarming rate with a recently conducted study among public school pupils in the state indicating that more than 60 per cent of them have hearing impairment due to their daily exposure to a noisy environment.

She also disclosed that the Ministry has received several complaints from the public against noise pollution from the religious groups, merry makers, musical and video centres as well as household generators.

While appealing to members of the public to support government’s effort at reducing pollution to the barest minimum, Anibaba revealed that experts have found out that noise pollution is the major cause of sleeplessness leading to high blood pressure, hypertension and a times stroke.

She, however, assured that the state government would deploy the equipment for the purpose they were donated and also do everything possible to protect the lives and well-being of the citizens through the implementation of sustainable programmes that will promote healthy and sustainable environment.

Source – http://allafrica.com/stories/201001200634.html

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