Air pollution has been recognized as an environmental hazard posing health challenges around the world but West Africa has been reputed to be the biggest violators in the 21st century. Around the world there has been significant technological efforts towards emission control with the transition from petrol power vehicles and machines to electronic vehicles and machines as well as gas and solar powered engines.
However, West Africa has taken a back seat in this global change especially in Nigeria where generators, tankers, trucks, rickety cars and buses ply roads unperturbed. Several factories have also contributed to this menace while gas flaring has become the norm in some parts of the country.
Air pollution is a critical risk factor for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) worldwide, causing about 24% of all adult deaths from heart disease, 29% from lung cancer, 25% from stroke, and 43% from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the World Health Organisation estimates shows.
The problem is also manifesting in the rural areas due to burning of firewood and coal for cooking. Globally the estimated population relying on solid fuels has reduced but Nigeria remains among countries with populations exposed to household air pollution from dependence on solid fuel. Worse still, over 70 percent of the fuel in the country is generated from fossil fuel.
Electric vehicles release no tail pipe air pollutants at the place where they are operated. They also typically generate less noise pollution than an internal combustion engine vehicle, whether at rest or in motion.
In order to reduce air pollution in the country, there are three things needed: cleaner fuel, more fuel-efficient cars and better enforcement capabilities. Significant investments need to be made to upgrade refineries so that they can remove sulfur from fuel. Cheap old cars brought in from developed countries need to be phased out and the purchase of electronic vehicles should be introduced. Government also needs to have the means to enforce emissions standards, whether on individual cars or industrial installations and power plants.
There is also need for properly refined fuels that will lead to the effective and efficient operations of vehicles. Emission control technologies are also needed to guarantee cleaner air in the country.
The basic solution for air pollution is to move away from fossil fuels, replacing them with alternative energies like solar, wind and geothermal. Producing clean energy is crucial; however it is equally important to reduce our consumption of energy by adopting responsible habits and using more efficient device