By Mercy Omoike
Lagos, Aug.19, 2020 An environmentalist, Mr Emmanuel Emechete, has warned that the increasing vehicular exhaust fumes in the atmosphere posed grave health hazards to the public.
Emechete in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Lagos warned that the emission of exhaust fumes from vehicles in our environment was on the increase.
“These exhaust fumes contain green house gases such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen, water vapours, and oxygen in unconsumed air, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, unburnt fuel, and particulate matter that are usually released into the atmosphere in smaller quantities.
“These gases are harmful to the environment; contribute to depletion of the ozone layer and also inimical to human health and life.
“What is worse is that some of the vehicles we use in Nigeria are not road worthy.
“They are more harmful as they release more harmful gases to the environment. Some of them are used for public transportation and convey quite a number of people from one place to another.
“Some of these vehicles are so bad that the passengers inhale the fumes emitting from them or it gets into their eyes.
“This, in turn, will result in serious health issues if such passengers are continually exposed to the fumes,” the environmentalist told NAN.
Emechete, therefore, suggested a reduction of vehicles on nation’s highways and embracing other modes of transportation like the waterways and trains for movement of passengers.
“Everyone is responsible for the increasing exhaust fumes released into the atmosphere and we all have roles to play to stop this menace.
“We can reduce the increasing exhaust fumes in our environment by reducing unnecessary vehicular movements.
“Any meeting or event that can be done through e-mail, call or online platforms should be embraced to reduce movement to physical event.
“We need to start taking advantage of available technology tools and work from home.
“We need to shift from the mentality of having to see people or things physically before you can communicate or engage in trade.
“Corporate organisations need to be very much involved in this. There are several offices that can operate 100 per cent online if they would just try that option, but many of them have began to open offices.
“We should move forward from where the pandemic has brought us and start doing things differently just as we did at the outbreak of the pandemic, but this time because of climate change which is a greater threat than COVID-19,” Emechete said.
Also, the environmentalist called for more sensitisation and advocacy on the dangers of emissions exhaust fumes.
“We must start advocacy on the dangers of fumes, we must impart knowledge, capacity and sensitisation in order to take necessary actions such as refusing to board bad vehicles and not purchasing bad vehicles notwithstanding its affordability.
“We need the government and regulatory agencies to enforce environmental policies that would help reduce the emission of green house gases from bad vehicles.
“If we can achieve this, then we would have moved one step closer to switch to using electric cars and bio-fuelled vehicles,” he said.
By Mercy Omoike