Dr Nuhu Solomon Anyegwu, the Deputy National President, Environmental Health Officers Association of Nigeria (EHOAN), has called for legislation and vigorous enforcement, to control the menace of air pollution.
Anyegwu, the Provost, Kogi State College of Health Sciences and Technology, Idah, made this call at a sensitisation programme on air pollution, held at the college on Friday in Idah.
The event was organised by the institution to commemorate the 2019 World Environment Day (WED, which is celebrated every June 5.
“Being a health manpower training institution, it is our responsibility to bring stakeholders together and to sensitise them for positive actions, to redeem the fast depreciating and uninhabitable environment,” Anyegwu said.
In his paper presentation, entitled: ” The menace of air pollution in our modern society”, Anyegwu urged the government to make the required legislation, and amend laws with vigorous enforcement and sanctions for defaulters.
He urged government to encourage afforestation, proper waste management system, health education, and harness natural sources of energy such as solar, wind and hydro.
“We must make adequate provision and usage of personal protective devices by industrial workers, alternative manufacturing of substances that do not destroy ozone layers, and avoid bush burning,” he said.
He defined air pollution as ”the introduction of harmful substances into the environment in such quantity, duration and characteristics that may be injurious to man, plant, animal and vegetation”.
According to him, we have indoor air pollution such as combustion of biomass and fossil fuels; and outdoor, such as smoke from mobile transportation, burning solid wastes, industrial and commercial facilities, among others.
The provost appealed to the Local, State and Federal Governments, to employ enough Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) and empower them, to tackle the current environmental challenges especially air pollution.
He urged governments to ensure adequate budgetary allocation of a minimum of 0.5 per cent for sanitation, as proposed by Ethekwi Declaration of African, held in Durban, 2008.
Anyegwu further called for the establishment of Waste Recycling Plant in each state of the federation, and encouragement of afforestation at all levels of government.
“Let us rise up to do something urgently in order to prevent this ugly development affecting the natural environment,” Anyegwu said.
Mr Sanusi Yahaya, the Kogi Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources, lauded the provost for his giant strides, and for making the government proud.
Yahaya was represented on the occasion by Mrs Hannah Odiyo, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry.
The commissioner said that the 2019 WED was an eye-opener on how to effectively manage the environment, and avoid polluting the air with unhygienic behaviours.
“We are sensitising the people through radio jingles, traditional and religious leaders to discourage air pollution,” he said.
Yahaya noted that the state government had recently acquired clean stoves through the support of the government, to promote cleaner energy.
The commissioner said the ministry had nurtured about 27, 000 tree seedlings for distribution and planting across the state, as a way of promoting afforestation.