Sai Baba! Change! Sai Baba! Change!
Exactly two years ago, these words, on the lips of virtually every Nigerian, portrayed in a large sense our own ‘audacity of hope’ and strong belief in the ‘dreams of a father’.
Whilst there have been several opinions and reactions to the outcomes and experiences we have faced as a nation over the last two years, the objective of this article is not about the ruling “APC, All Progressive Congress” in Nigeria but rather, it is to highlight some of the unfavorable changes in climate that APC, Atmospheric Pollution Conditions, have brought over the years around the world and in Nigeria. Shocked? Apparently not what you were thinking.
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What is climate change?
In simple terms, climate change refers to a change in average weather patterns over an extended period of time (typically ranging from thirty years to several centuries). Although it is much broader, climate change is usually described as an increase in the earth’s surface temperature (global warming) which is primarily due to the heat trapping effect of (increased amounts of) greenhouse gases (GHGs) within the atmosphere. These greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4, N2O, O3) are actually beneficial to life on earth, when in appropriate quantities. They allow a portion of the solar radiation directed at the earth to reach its surface, and inhibit the escape of heat from the earth into space. Climate change is a global concept but its effects tend to affect some countries (usually poorer ones) than richer ones.
Human activities however, especially those involving the processing and use of fossil fuels (oil, coal and gas), have vastly increased the concentration of these GHGs in the atmosphere, leading to atmospheric pollution conditions which cause larger amounts of heat to be prevented from escaping the earth. The resulting surface temperature rise, like a domino effect, is leading to variability in climatic conditions and unpleasant occurrences such as rising sea levels, extreme weather events, droughts, etc.
A closer look at APC in Lagos
APC is most severely seen in industrialized and massively (over) populated states like Lagos which accounts for about 40% of new vehicle registrations in Nigeria. Reports indicate that Lagos state contributes over 50% of national GHGs emissions from the transport sector. Other notable sources of pollution include power generators, industry, commercial buses, wastes and fossil fuel burning from industries, etc.
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A report released by the Lagos State Ministry of Environment (2012), revealed climate change in Lagos – involving an annual temperature increase of 0.04oC between 2012 and 2065, causing longer rainy seasons, extreme weather and heat days, amongst others. These will result in significant loss of erstwhile precious land (in the face of the several multi-million dollar land reclamation projects being undertaken), loss of physical infrastructure, pollution of surface and groundwater, increased risk of water borne diseases, to mention a few. Flooding has become a common occurrence affecting a large portion of the continuously increasing Lagos population, leading to destruction of properties, water borne as well as respiratory diseases and several deaths which still boils dog to attributed to deleterious APC-induced climate change.
What can we do?
… To be continued.
Damilola Kuteyi, writes from Cross River State, Nigeria. He is an environment enthusiast and volunteers with wastesmart.org.
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