FG Introduces Initiative to Reduce Air Pollution

Michael Olugbode in Abuja

The federal government has flagged off the National Generator Emission Control Programme (NGECP) and the National Vehicular Emission Control Programme (NVECP) in order to reduce air pollution in the country.

Speaking at the unveiling of the two programmes in Abuja, yesterday, the Minister of Environment, Muhammed Abdullahi said though vehicles commuting between communities play a key role in the socio-economic development of the country, they continued to remain one of the biggest contributor to air pollution.

The minister said: “It is worthy of mentioning that road transportation in Nigeria with over twelve million (12,000,000) vehicles plying the roads is playing a key role in the socio – economic development of country.

“Unfortunately, despite significant advances in fuel efficiency and emission reductions, the transport sector remained one of the major sources of air pollution in Nigeria.”

He equally lamented that fume from the generating sets being patronised by many Nigerians equally contribute massively to the air pollution in the country, explaining that: “Demand for electricity in Nigeria is currently increasing more above the supply from the national grid.

“A significant proportion of this shortfall is met with onsite generating sets (gensets) at consumer locations; some of these gensets operating between 15-18 hours a day (NBS, SMEDAN 2010). The market consists of gensets of varying quality and prices. Unfortunately, these diesel gensets contribute emissions of fine particulate matter (PM), including black carbon, which derives from the incomplete combustion of diesel (as occurs in many diesel gensets).”

He lamented that the wide range and indiscriminate use of these generators for both domestic and industrial power supply, and the quantum of harmful pollutants such as Oxides of Nitrogen (NOX), Sulfur Dioxide (SO2), Carbon monoxide (CO), and partially unbent hydrocarbons emitted contributed greatly to the poor air quality which negatively affects the environment and human health.

The minister however noted that in recognition of the need to protect the environment and human life from the dangers posed by toxic air emissions, the federal government promulgated environmental regulations cutting across all sectors of the economy which the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) is implementing.

He disclosed that some of these environmental regulations included the National Environmental (Control of Emissions from Petrol and Diesel Engines) Regulations, 2011 and the National Environmental (Air Quality Control) Regulations, 2021, stressing that the National Vehicular Emissions Control Programme (NVECP) and National Generator Emissions Control Programme (NGECP) were designed to address the emissions from mobile and stationary sources.

As part of the NESREA mandate and to support the implementation of the Paris Agreement as spelled out in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC’s), the operationalisation of the National Environmental (Control of Emissions from Petrol and Diesel Engines) Regulation 2011 and the National Environmental (Air Quality Control) Regulations, 2021 were scaled-up with two programmes:

He said the NGCP and the NVECP were strategies aimed at cutting down emissions of pollutants from generators (stationary source) as well as vehicles (mobile source). The programmes would be implemented under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) and will involve periodic (annual) testing of the generators and vehicles for toxic and greenhouses gases emissions.

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