The Lagos State Government and the United States of America Consulate in Nigeria, on Tuesday, reiterated their commitment to greater collaboration towards air quality monitoring and measuring to reduce pollution and combat the effect of climate change.
The Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tunji Bello and the Acting Consular General of the American Consulate, Brandon Hudspeth, spoke about the commitment at a high-level meeting between the State officials and the Consulate in Alausa, Ikeja.
Speaking at the event, Bello said Lagos is in dire need of larger collaboration, especially in human capacity building to combat the climate change menace across the State.
He said the State Government, in its quest to tackle climate change in 2008, commenced an annual Climate Change Conference which stopped briefly in 2015 before recommencing in 2021, explaining that part of the resolutions of past conferences was the creation of Lagos State Parks and Gardens Agency for continuous tree planting across Lagos to mitigate the effects of climate change.
Bello stated that the Bus Rapid Transportation (BRT) scheme was also introduced to reduce emissions on transport because the BRT mode of transportation conveys more people at a time.
The Commissioner averred that with an average population of 24 million in Lagos, it is obvious that human activities have warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land, stating that the Government is trying to put various measures in place so that human activities are carried out with climate change in mind.
On his part, the Acting U.S Consul General, Mr. Brandon Hudspeth, said the Consulate was elated with the various activities developed by the Lagos State Government to combat climate change, expressing readiness to partner and give technical expertise to further raise awareness about air pollution.
He said the U.S Consulate in Nigeria has ensured that all its buildings in Nigeria have been operating on zero-carbon emissions, stressing that this was part of their contribution to combat air pollution.
In her presentation at the forum, the General Manager, Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), Dr. Dolapo Fasawe, noted that the State’s envisaged a partnership to create adequate awareness about air quality, dangers of air pollution and ways to mitigate the effect of air pollution against climate change.
Fasawe noted that scientists have long proven that air pollution exposure could lead to a series of negative health impacts, pointing out that higher ozone has brought about a steeper increase in depressive symptoms across adolescent development, a pattern that was not observed for other forms of psychopathology symptoms.
While maintaining that the Air is supposed to be transparent, odourless and colourless, Fasawe informed that the State Government has installed six Air Quality Monitoring stations in strategic locations across the State, adding the present administration has also concluded plans to commence the enforcement and arrest of vehicles and machinery owners contributing to carbon emission in Lagos.
The Head of Climate Change and Environmental Planning Department in the Ministry of the Environment, Mr. Micheal Bankole, stated that as of 2015, the total emission in Lagos State was estimated at 26 million gigatonnes of carbon-infused in the atmosphere, adding that stationery energy contributed 55%, transportation 20%, while waste was 25%.
Bankole submitted that Lagos has been working on various strategies to set the State on a pathway towards carbon neutrality by 2050.