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Africa’s giant as 8th most polluted country

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By Mercy Kelani

Air pollution in Nigeria is mostly caused by vehicles emissions.

According to a recent report released by the Oxford University’s Our World in Data platform and Daily Mail of London, Nigeria has been recorded as the 8th most polluted country in the world. This is huge decline from its 18th position in 2022. Niger Republic was recorded as the second most polluted country; Qatar as the third; India as the fourth; Saudi Arabia as the fifth; Egypt as the sixth; and Cameroun as the seventh. Finland is currently the lowest polluted country in the world with only three deaths per 100,000.

Nigeria was said to be on the top list of countries that are most polluted because its pollution laws are weak and the standards for vehicle emissions are very low. Majority of the cars driven on Nigerian roads have ceased to be road worthy but their owners still drive them on major roads, to the disadvantage of other road users. These vehicles emit heavy smoke which in turn causes environmental pollution, with engines that make loud noises, causing noise pollution. Majority of the vehicles under this category are trucks and commercial buses.

Industrialization has also fueled pollution in the country.

On many occasions, some Road Safety Officials and Vehicle Inspection Officers (VIO) ignore these vehicles even when they come their way. Many of them were said to be usually more focused on private vehicle owners for the purpose of extortion. Pollution is also caused by cigarette smokers. Research has it that non-smokers who stay in close contact with smokers are likely to suffer the same health risks as smokers. People smoke without considering non-smokers in many public place in the country, particularly at pubs.

Emissions from these factories are also responsible for pollution of the environment, in urban areas especially. As good as industrialization is, it becomes a critical problem when it is done without paying close attention or providing remedial measures to the environment. In June 1988, it was said that an Italian company planned to dump toxic waste in Koko, Delta State, after payment of $100 to the community. But for the vigilance of Nigerians who called out against the action, the company would have caused the gradual death of many Nigerians as exposure to toxic waste causes nausea, premature births and paralysis.

WHO says pollution is the third biggest killer globally.

Dumping of garbage, water bottles and nylons inside drainage systems have contributed to pollution. These unhealthy habits in the environment causes blockage in the drainages, causing flooding and its related consequences. Inability to control pollution seriously endangers the health of citizens because a polluted environment could cause asthma, diarrhoea, lung cancer, heart disease, cholera and others. Of all kinds of pollutants, air pollution is the biggest cause of mortality, death, and is said to be responsible for about seven million deaths in the world every year.

Globally, pollution was accountable for 6.67 million deaths in 2019. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), pollution is the third biggest killer around the world. In 2019, the highest cause of death was high blood pressure, having killed 10.85 million people in the same year. While smoking was said to be the second biggest killer, having killed 7.69 million people. During the commemoration of the World Pneumonia Day in November 2021, UNICEF stated that across the globe, Nigeria has the highest number of child pneumonia deaths related to air pollution.

There is a need for cleaner and renewable energy.

To reduce pollution in Nigeria, especially air pollution, Nigerian households should have easy access to clean energy and cooking technologies. Use of gas is considered an ideal way to begin embracing clean energy. Industries should also adopt clean technologies that discourage emissions. Governments are likewise expect to initiate and implement policies that will improve the use of vehicles with low emissions and cleaner fuel. Sustainable strategies that will support management of urban waste such as recycling and waste separation should be mapped out.

Related Link

Clean Air Fund: Website

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