Against the back drop that Niger Delta residents have for many decades suffered the severe exposures of pollution due to various industrial and non-industrial operations and processes, environmental stakeholders have stressed the need to sensitize the public Government at all levels and captains of Industries on the issue of indoor pollution.
They made the observation during the round table discussion on "Indoor Air Pollution, Worker Health And Productivity in The Niger Delta", organised by
Selemati Foundation, in collaboration with the Rivers State University Advancement and Linkage Centre.
They noted that this year's World Environment Day with “Beat Air Pollution” as it's theme is a call to action for everyone to combat the global crisis caused by air pollution, by considering how best to change lifestyle , reduce the amount of air pollution produced, and thwart its contribution to global warming and its effects on human health.
Regretting that the air people breathe in Nigeria is more likely to cause harm than the air in any other country in Africa, they revealed that current statistics show that Nigeria has the highest burden of fatalities from air pollution in Africa and 4th highest in the world with 150 deaths per 100,000 people attributable to pollution.
They further observed that the Niger Delta residents have had to suffer environmental, health, and socio-economic costs of
the various forms of pollution, including air contamination, adding that the current poor air quality, due to soot emission, has aggravated the existing poor air quality situation of the region.
The participants at the Roundtable discussion who were drawn from the Civil Society (NGOs), Academia, Media, Companies and Government Agencies identified the absence of baseline data for indoor air quality which according to them is necessary in assessing and solving the problem of indoor Air pollution.
They however called for synergy among the Government, Academia and Industries on research/further studies as well as intensive advocacy for Government to provide Monitors that will check indoor air quality and set up acceptable Indoor Air pollution control measures and policies.
Calling on Government at all levels to engage the Key Players, especially in putting the necessary modalities in place, they opined that there is need to create public awareness of best practices/ behavioural change on ensuring reduction in indoor Air Pollution; sensitization on Effects of Air Pollutants and consequences by critical stakeholders such as the Media, Government, Academia and Xaptains of Industries.
The environmentalists stressed the urgent need for provision of renewable energy sources to rural dwellers that are dependent on solid biomass fuels and a Blueprint for a shift from fusil fuel to renewable energy sources in Nigeria.
"There is need for re-establishment of a town planning system that would take into account air quality monitoring and ventilation standards", the participants recommended.