FG introduces programmes to reduce air pollution

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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 official flag off of the two programmes in Abuja on Monday, the Minister of Environment, Muhammed Abdullahi said though vehicles commuting between communities played a key role in the socio-economic development of the country, but they continued to remain one of the biggest contributors 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 fumes from the generating sets which were patronized by many Nigerians equally contributed 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 had contributed greatly to the poor air quality which negatively affected the environment and human health.

The Minister however noted that in recogntion of the need to protect the environment and human life from the dangers posed by toxic air emissions, the Federal Government of Nigeria promulgated environmental regulations cutting across all sectors of the economy which the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) was 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 operationalization 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 would involve periodic (annual) testing of the generators and vehicles for toxic and greenhouses gases emissions.

He said that in this strategy, the responsibility of National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) would be to set national emission standards and to develop a reliable national database management system for all emissions data generated from the two programmes (NVECP, and NGECP) in Nigeria.

He disclosed that the implementation of the NGECP would be starting with power generating sets of capacity from 10 KVA and above, while for NVECP the lowest limit would be Euro III emission standard as agreed at the ECOWAS regional level.

Also speaking, the Director General/CEO of NESREA, Prof. Aliyu Jauro lamented that the demand for electricity which is not met by the national grid had created market for gensets that have contributed to air pollution, noting that vehicles too had contributed massive to air pollution.

He said with the introduction of the two programmes, the agency would be able to meet its vision of ensuring a cleaner and healthier environment.

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