The Deputy National President, Environmental Health Officers Association of Nigeria (EHOAN), Dr Nuhu Solomon Anyegwu, has called for legislations and vigorous enforcement to prevent and control 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.
According to him, the program was organised by the college 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, in order to redeem the fast deprecating and uninhabitable environment,” Anyegwu said.
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.
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, there are two types of air pollution; indoor, such as combustion of biomass and fosil 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.
”Let us rise up to do something urgently to prevent this ugly development, affecting the natural environment,” Anyegwu said.
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.
An Environmental Health Officer, Mr Isa Adamu, also presented a paper titled: ”The Revival of the Environmental Health Profession in Modern Society”.
The Provost was honoured with two awards; an ”Icon Of National Building In Nigeria”, and ”Youth Ambassador Of The Year” awards, which were given by the West African Students Union Parliament and Kogi Youth Promoter respectively.