Why Ogun should reintroduce emission control

In November 2012, some stakeholders in Ogun State, including the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), Tricycle Owners and Riders Association of Nigeria (TORAN), ACOMORAN, AMORAN and others called on the state government to reintroduce emission control to curtail the increasing air pollution in the state.

Emission is the term used to describe the gases and particles which are put into air or emitted by various sources, but the amounts and types of emissions change yearly. These changes are caused by change in the nation’s economy, industrial activity, technology improvements, traffic, and by many other factors.

In order to make improvements in the air quality, the amount of pollutants in the air must be measured. The emissions measurement centre develops standards and evaluates testing methods so that regulations can be developed and enforced. An emission factor is a relationship between the amount of emissions that are released and the activity of the producer. Emission factors are used to predict emission levels for different industries.

Though emission inventories are quantities of pollutants measured over time, emission inventories can be compared with air pollutant level in an area to determine if increased emissions decreases the air quality.

Once the measurements are made the information must be collected and stored so that it can be used to evaluate the air quality and effects of the regulations. The Clearing House for Inventories and Emissions Factors (CHIEF) is a centralised resource for emission data.

Then, the former state Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Adebayo Fari, might have sounded merely advisory but it’s the core of attaining a healthy Ogun State and Nigeria as a whole to rid the state of pollution, through redesigning of the programme and enlightening the stakeholders involved to fight against air pollution as the major source of the pollutions are from vehicular and power generating set emission which in particular accounts for more than 90% of all sources of air pollution.

Most people don’t really know the danger of air pollution and it is the responsibility of government to constantly enlighen the people on the damage to human health caused by air pollution.

However, researches and studies have shown that of all the sources of air pollution, vehicular emission accounts for more than 50% followed by industrial discharges. This is the more reason why the stakeholders in the state agreed to join hands to combat the menace of air pollution in the state.

Emission control is not new to the state. Its abuse and mismanagement led to its cancellation, but there is a need to reintroduce it to save the masses from untimely death. The emission control scheme should not be limited to transporters and industrialists in the state, but should be extended to those who use generators for their day-to-day activities as the use of generators also contributes at least 40% air pollution.

Now, it is imperative for the residents of the state to cooperate with the state government to protect the publics from the hazard of air pollutions in the state, as the government could not shoulder  the responsibility in curtailing air pollution in the state.

The breathing in of oxygen alongside with polluted air in the society and releasing of carbon dioxide has a lot to do in human health, as much of the air we breathe in has been polluted with vehicular, gaseous and industrial discharges.

I need to call on the General Manager of Parks and Garages Development Board (PAGADEB), Ayo Ogunsolu to admonish transport unions in the state about the danger of air being polluted by vehicles and to be patient, cooperate with the government and be law-abiding in the state to avoid any altercation and embarrassment when introduced.

Though the programme would not be designed to extort money from anybody — transporters, industrialists and or others, but to protect the publics from the hazards of air pollution in the state and to increase Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state.

Moreover, the overhauling of the scheme in the state is necessary for optimum performance and to bring the air pollution in the state to the barest minimum for the inhabitants and the residents, but it must be timely for the general acceptance of the stakeholders in the state and not to be avoided by the transporters and the industrialists in the state.

It is now important for all stakeholders in the state to work hand in glove with the Ogun state government to rid the state of air pollution hazards in line with the United Nations Organisations (UNO) and other relevant international agencies’ efforts to check, control and monitor vehicular emissions in the state.

Though, section 20 of the 1999 Constitution (which is non-justiceable pursuant to Section 6(6) (C)) stipulates that “The state shall protect and improve the environment and…”

Of course, all efforts can’t be left to the government alone. We have our duties (pursuant to Section 24, 1999 Constitution), one of which is to “make positive and useful contribution to the advancement, progress and well-being of the community where he resides” (S.24 (d)).

Since so many commercial and industrial air pollution activities occur in the state, the limit of environmental, gaseous, industrial and vehicular air pollution might be getting to its crescendo.

It is equally pertinent to emphasise the fact that air pollution in the country has caused a lot of damage to the human health in general and if care is not taken in checkmating the menace of air pollution in the country, it will soon get out of hands.

I hope that with proper state-designed enlightenment programmes, the people will know what to do, and what not to do in preventing air pollution.

Orunbon sent this piece from Federal Housing Estate Olomore, Abeokuta.