Environmental stakeholders on Tuesday listed measures to have better air quality in Nigeria, insisting that the fabrication of air quality sensors and development of air quality index, among other interventions, can ameliorate environmental issues.
They made the call in a communique jointly signed by Prof. Babatunde Rabiu, Director, Centre for Atmospheric Research(CAR) and Dr Olusegun Fawole of Portsmouth University, UK, at the just-concluded International Conference on COVID-19, Air Quality and Environment.
The conference held at the Osogbo campus of Osun State University, from Aug. 29 to Sept. 2.
They recognised that air pollution is a trans-boundary global issue, while pollutants can travel incredible distances from the source.
“Pollutants exert negative effects in a far distant land, hence, Nigerians are admonished to strive towards a more responsible and sustainable living.
“There is an urgent need to encourage local fabrication of air quality sensors, such sensors would be better adapted to our climate, and such measurements would be more appropriate for the development of air quality models.
“There is an urgent need for Nigeria to develop its Air Quality Index, this would enable relevant agencies, particularly the Manufacturer Association of Nigeria to independently monitor and control the emissions from their factories.
“The general public should become aware and conscious of the quality of air around them, hence the need for air quality reporting to become a norm weather reports,” the stakeholders said.
Other recommendations include the need for the public to be sensitise on the benefit of waste separation, particularly in their homes.
The communique said that appropriate waste management practice can be carried out on the different categories of organic and inorganic wastes by the waste management authorities.
According to it, the air quality monitoring network over Nigeria should be densified, leading to the generation of a rich blend of original data needed for ambient air quality monitoring, model initialisation and evaluation.
“Deforestation should be discouraged, the general public should be encouraged to plant trees to enhance sequestration of atmospheric carbon.
“The general public should be sensitised on the need to take charge and responsibility of their carbon fingerprint, they should be educated on the need to partake in activities like carpooling, cycling, reuse, recycling, among others which would invariably lower their daily carbon fingerprint.
“Government parastatals should collaborate more with academic and research institutions, to help enrich research outputs necessary for policy making.
“Government agencies should work in synergy and with relevant stakeholders to promulgate, effectively communicate, and enforce environmental protection laws,” the communique said.
The communique further urged the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), to augment emission permit fees that will effectively force manufacturers to consciously reduce their pollution.
It also recommended that state governments should be encouraged to set up and own air quality monitoring stations, especially in urban cities and pollution hotspots.
It said, “research into low cost alternatives to harmful technology and practices should be encouraged and funded.
“The relevant government agencies should be encouraged to make real-time air quality data readily available, preferably via mobile app and online media platforms for public use.
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