The director-general of National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), Dr Lawrence Anukam, has emphasised that despite the benefits accrued to road transportation that automobiles continued to be a major source of air pollution.
This he said, increased exponentially due to an increase in the number of cars plying the roads.
He disclosed this in Abuja while handing over the National Vehicular Emission Control Programme (NVCEP) equipment to operators of vehicle testing centres.
The equipment which comprises laptops, petrol analyser and diesel analyser or pacimetre are meant to reduce air pollution from vehicles even as each pilot phase is expected to produce 27 testing centres.
Anukam was optimistic that the equipment would reduce environmental footprints, especially from vehicular emissions.
He pointed out that the federal government was fully committed to the ideals of good governance, adding that the goal of environmental sustainability was to provide Nigerians with a healthy environment towards achieving better socio-economic development.
The DG pointed out that about 10 million vehicles and 3 million motorcycles that ply the roads were majorly concentrated in urban centres, saying that 1.2 million vehicles ply the roads in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Anukam asserted that the agency was enforcing the ban on 2- stroke engine, with the assistance of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and other security agencies at the ports, noting that vehicles with 2- stroke engines would be confiscated and sent to their ports of origin.
He informed that NESREA would work closely with Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) and Vehicle Inspectorate Office (VIO) for the enforcement of NVCEP, which is expected to generate some form of revenue for the government.
The DG said that after the pilot phase in Abuja, the exercise would be replicated in other states, adding that when fully operational, any vehicle tested would have an identification tag.
Anukam disclosed that the validity of test certificate was for one year as the control programme was backed by law in line with the mandate of the agency. He was hopeful that the process would help to keep the cars roadworthy and control emissions, thereby protecting the environment.
Anukam, however, emphasised that by implementing the National Generator Emission Control Programme (NGECP), the agency was directly or indirectly reducing the burden of respiratory diseases accompanied by inhaling a huge amount of emission.
The NGECP being the flagship programme of the agency is designed to address emissions from mobile stationary sources in line with efforts to support the implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
The World Health Organisation (WHO) report revealed that ambient air pollution was responsible for 4.2 million deaths annually as it was estimated to cause about 16 per cent lung cancer deaths, 25 per cent chronic pulmonary diseases (COPD), 17 per cent ischemic heart disease and stroke as well as 26 per cent infection deaths.
Anukam regretted that about 60 million Nigerians invested about N1.6 trillion to purchase and maintain standby generators annually according to statistics by the centre for management development. While stating that generator fumes were hazardous and build-up in enclosed areas, he disclosed that fumes from generators contain carbon monoxide and build up in the respiratory organ.
Anukam said the essence of NGECP is to guarantee cleaner environment and contribute to economic growth of the country since Nigeria is considering achieving 30 per cent of energy efficiency in industries, homes, businesses, vehicles and renewable energy.
He stated that indiscriminate use of generators for both domestic and industrial power supply and the harmful pollutants such as Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx), sulphur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (CO2) and unburnt hydrocarbons emitted from generators have contributed to poor air quality which negatively affected the environment and human health. The DG maintained that NGECP would assist the federal government in taking inventory of the type, model, age, location and type of generators currently in use in the country, saying that it would discourage the use of Nigeria as dumping ground for dead and overused equipment.