The Lagos State Government in partnership with the US Consulate-General, Lagos, has held an advocacy walk/interactive session against air pollution, charging residents to be more responsible and take ownership of their environment for improved air quality in the State.
Speaking on the importance of the walk, which was tagged: “Eko For Clean Air”, the Acting Consul-General, Mr. Brandon Hudspeth, reiterated the need for an aggressive campaign to create more awareness on air pollution and further enlighten Lagos residents about the vulnerability of the environment and consequences inherent in unfriendly activities against nature.
According to him, the U.S Government was partnering with the State Government in order 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.
In his presentation after the advocacy walk, titled: “Our Health, Our Air Quality”, the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, hinted that seven million people died of air pollution across the world in Y2019, thus the need for improved air quality and friendly lifestyles.
He said: ”What we are trying to achieve here is good health. While the initiative is being driven through the Ministry of Environment, LASEPA will regulate air quality, water quality and 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”, the Commissioner noted.
Prof. Abayomi said research has shown that the air quality in Nigeria and Lagos is below standard and enjoined the public to comply with all environmental guidelines and laws in order to spend less on medical care and also bequeath a safe as well as healthy society to the generations yet unborn.
Also speaking, Dr. Dolapo Fasawe, General Manager of LASEPA, said that the agency had been creating awareness on the issue of air pollution and charged residents to adopt more friendly practices devoid of all forms of environmental degradation to promote a clean, safe and healthy environment.
Her words: “We continuously carry out advocacy and public education on various environmental issues across the various strata of the population. Our youth are engaged to adopt more sustainable lifestyles and champion environmental courses, through our school advocacy programme. More zonal offices were also created to meet varied challenges confronting the State. Collectively, we can win the battle against pollution”.
She listed measures to curb the tide of air pollution in the State as planting trees to create more green areas, using only eco-friendly products, stopping open burning of refuse, regular servicing of vehicles and generators, using alternate modes of transportation (waterways/rails and practising carpooling) and reducing the burning of fossil fuel by switching to gas and embracing renewable energy amongst others.
In his contribution, the Lagos Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Corps Commander, Olusegun Ogungbemide, 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’ lives at risk.
He, however, said the FRSC is collaborating with all relevant authorities, including Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and Nigeria Customs Service to curb the tide of vehicular emissions in Lagos State as well as across the country.