From Joseph Amedu, Lokoja
The Deputy National President, Environmental Health Officers Association of Nigeria (EHOAN), Dr. Solomon Anyegwu has called for urgent intervention of government at all levels in the control of air pollution to prevent its associated health hazards.
Anyegwu also appealed to government to pave way for effective legislations and vigorous enforcement of relevant laws that would assist in the prevention and control of the menace of air pollution.
Anyegwu, who is also the Provost, Kogi State College of Health Sciences and Technology Idah, made the call at a sensitisation programme on air pollution, held at the college Auditorium in Idah over the weekend.
According to him, the programme which was organised by the college to commemorate the 2019 World Environment Day (WED) is aimed at sensitizing citizens globally to join hands in the fight against air pollution.
In his paper presentation, titled: ”Menace of Air Pollution In Our Modern Society”, Anyegwu urged the government to make the required legislations, 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.
According to him, there are two types of air pollution; indoor, 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 the air pollution.
He also 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.
He further called for the establishment of Waste Recycling Plant in each state of the federation and encourage afforestation at all levels of government.
In his remarks, Pharm. Sanusi Usman Yahaya, Kogi Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources, commended the provost for his giant strides and for making the government proud.
Represented by Mrs Hannah Odiyo, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Yahaya 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 sensitise people through radio jingles, traditional and religious leaders to discourage air pollution.
He said that the state government had recently acquired clean stoves through the support of the Federal Government in a bid to promote cleaner energy.
The commissioner added that the ministry had nurtured about 27, 000 tree seedlings for distribution and planting across the state as a way of promoting afforestation.