. . . Visits Zec Industries Limited Nkpor
By Abuchi Onwumelu
The Anambra State Government through the Ministry of Enviromment Road Beautification and Ecology last Wednesday joined its counterpart world over to mark this year's World Environment Day (WED) with a call on Ndi Anambra to master the act of tree planting, nurturing and protection.
As part of its activities to mark the day the ministry embarked on facility tour of Zec Industries Limited, Nkpor, in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State.
Addressing newsmen shortly after the inspecting Zec Industries Limited facilities, the Honourable Commissioner for Environment, Arc. Mike Okonkwo said the WED was a global platform for raising awareness on emerging environmental issues, noting that it was the biggest annual event initiated by the United Nations with participation from over 143 countries annually.
According to him, a new theme was adopted each year for the WED saying that the Theme for WED 2019 was: "BEAT AIR POLLUTION", adding that it was aimed at creating awareness on the causes of air pollution and its harmful effects to human health.
He stated that the subject theme called for collective effort aimed at reducing the amount of air pollution people produced and also ameliorate its contribution to global warming and its effects on people's health.
Arc. Okonkwo who said that air pollution occurred when harmful or excessive quantities of substance including gases, particles, and biological molecules were introduced into the earth's atmosphere and may cause diseases, allergies or death to human beings.
'Air Pollution Facts in Nigeria:
Nigerian cities such as Onitsha, Kaduna, Aba and Umuahia are grossly polluted, not just in terms of the air quality, but also the solid waste that litters the streets, blocking drainages and canals. But the same can be said for many other Nigerian cities. In 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) pronounced Onitsha, Anambra state the city with the worst air pollution in the world.
'On statistics, nine out of 10 people are exposed to levels of air pollutants that exceeds safe levels in Nigeria. Nigeria has mortality rate as a result of air polltion of 307 for every 100,000 people and is the second worst in all of Africa. Ground- level ozone pollurion is expected to reduce staple crop yields by 26% by 2030.
'Causes of air pollution includes;
Household -Indoor burning of fossil fuels, wood and other biomass- based fuels to cook, heat and light homes causes majority of premature deaths. Industry --- Energy production through coal burning and power plants are a major contributor.
'Transport --- Transport sector emits large amount of carbon -dioxide, fumes and particulates from vehicles are contibutes largely to air pollution. Agriculture - Livestock emits 24% of GHG like methane, ammonia and carbon dioxide, burning of farmland and trees also contributes largely to air pollution.
'Waste -Open waste burning and organic waste in landfills release harmful dioxins, furans, methane and black carbon into the atmosphere,' he concluded.
Arc. Okonkwo disclosed that the Ministry would embark on a walking march across the three senatorial zones of the state before the end of June 2019 to sensitize residents on the danger of air pollution, noting that curbing air pollution was a collective responsibility.
He listed some causes of air pollution to include; burning of firewood during cooking, industrial machines, open waste disposals bin along streets, among others. He urged residents to reduce their use of firewood during cooking, bush burning and burning of plastic materials for the fight against air pollution in society.
Arc. Okonkwo commended Governor Willie Obiano for pursuing the issue of environment in state seriously.
He advised that leadership at all levels to focus on stimulating the economy with green projects and stop deforestation.
For his part, Chief Ezeribe Chidi, the Managing Director of Zec Industries Limited, an International company that manufactures female hair attachment, called on the Government at all level to encourage indigenous entrepreneurs by providing stable electricity supply, easy access to loan and a cordial working relationship to enable the industrialist to do more for the interest of job creation.
The visit to Zec Industries Limited had in attendance, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry Dr. Emmanuel Okafor, Director Enviromental Health, Mrs. Edith Ike; member of the State Enviromental Committee, Hon. Mike Obiajulu Meze; community leaders, market leaders, representatives of government agencies and key environmental players in the sector.
The World Environment Day, celebrated June 5th every year, is a day dedicated to address the issues facing the environment across the globe.