Air Pollution Kills 7m people Globally Every Year

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  • FAAN to reduce air pollution at nation’s airports

Chinedu Eze

The United Nations (UN) has disclosed that over seven million people die annually as a result of air pollution induced diseases. These come from human activities, including flight operations vent pollutants into the atmosphere.

To curtail pollution from air travel, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) said that it was making efforts at reducing air pollution at all the nation’s airports.

These were disclosed on Wednesday at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos during the World Environment Day, organised by FAAN in collaboration with the Nigerian Environmental Society (NES).

The UN Secretary General, Mr. Anthonio Guterres, in his presentation at the occasion said that polluted air kills some seven million people each year, causes long term health problems, such as asthma, and reduces children’s cognitive development.

Guterres, who was represented by Mrs. Bolanle Olumekor, a director in United Nation Information Centre (UNIC) in Lagos, lamented that air pollution costs societies more than $5trillion each year.

She noted that tackling air pollution presented a double opportunity, stressing that there were many initiatives that both clear the air and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as phasing out coal-fired powered plants and promoting less polluting industry, transport and domestic fields.

He maintained that with investments in renewable energy, a source outstripping those in fossil fuels every year, the rise of clean energy was helping globally cleaner transport was also growing around the world.

He added: “It is in such initiatives, designed to improve air quality and fight climate change that hope lies. I urge everyone attending the Climate Action Summit that I am convening in September to draw motivation from such examples. There is no reason the international community cannot act.

“Precedent exists in the Montreal Protocol. Scientists identified a grave threat to public and planetary health, and governments and businesses acted to successfully protect the oozing layer.”

The Managing Director, FAAN, Capt. Hamisu Yadudu in his speech, observed that air pollution was caused by various gaseous pollutants arising from human developmental and industrial activities and disregards for best practices with respect to emissions management.
Yadudu, who was represented by Mrs. Janet Omere, the General Manager, Environment, said that FAAN was not relenting on its plan o measure, monitor and manage the amount of emissions arising from airport activities and operations in Nigeria.

He explained that FAAN was complying with local environmental management guidelines and regulations and at the same time embracing best practices as reeled out in the Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPS) of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and initiatives by other global aviation bodies.

“Between 2009 to date, FAAN has been committed to and have invested in the various environmental management studies that are geared towards monitoring of environmental parameters such as air quality around the nation’s airports with the aim of identifying areas of serious negative impacts require mitigations.

“The environmental management studies/environmental audits carried out within this period on all the airports in the country showed that the amount of air pollutants arising from the airport operations were all within the acceptable limits of World Bank, federal ministry of environment and others.”

Also, Prof. Obinna Chukwu, who is a Director, Academic Planning Unit, University of Lagos (UNILAG), emphasised that aviation industry globally contributes about two per cent to manmade carbon dioxide emission worldwide.
In Nigeria, he noted that about 1.3 per cent of air pollution was caused by international carriers, while another 0.7 per cent was by domestic operators.

Besides, he declared that aviation industry contributes 895 metric tonnes to greenhouse gases, lamenting that this was on the high side.

To reduce carbon emission in air travel, Chukwu said the aviation industry embarked on Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), which is an emission mitigation approach for the global airline industry, developed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). CORSIA addresses emissions from international air travel. The proposal has been described as “a delicate compromise between all involved in its elaboration”.

Also aircraft manufacturers have keyed to the fight against air pollution by ensuring that any new aircraft manufactured emits less pollutants to the atmosphere. This is done by ensuring that new aircraft manufactured consumes less volume of fuel. The grounded Boeing B737 MAX, which is known to be highly eco friendly reduced fuel consumption by 20 per cent, so it has the least emission compared to other commercial aircraft.