65, 000 Nigerians die yearly due to air pollution ―Saraki

SENATE President, Senator Bukola Saraki, on Tuesday, stated that about 65, 000 Nigerians, more than half of whom were children, were dying every year as a result of exposure to household pollution.
Speaking at the 2017 Nigeria Clean Cooking Forum, organized in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Environment in Abuja, the Senate President said globally, there were over 4 million deaths every year due to household air pollution and 24 per cent of global black carbon emissions came from cooking smoke.

In Nigeria, according to him, household air pollution is the third most significant risk factor for health after malaria and HIV/Aids, killing almost 65, 000 people every year- more than half of whom are children.

Senator Saraki, who attributed this to rising incident of deforestation and use of woods for cooking, especially among rural communities, therefore, pledged to support legislations that would promote the use of clean cook stoves.

He noted that the rural villages consume between 1.9 kilogram to 4 kilogram daily of firewood, contributing adversely to health status of about 170 million people.

The Senate President, whose message was delivered by Senator Audu Ibrahim, however, disclosed that entrepreneurs, who ventured into production of clean cook stoves, should get needed encouragement and assistant with a view to making the clean stoves accessible and affordable.

Said he: “this form of biomass energy use for cooking, no doubt justifies the development of a sustainable clean cook stove program in Nigeria.

“Nigerians consume between 1.9kg to 4kg/day/capita of firewood depending on household size. When applied to the country’s population currently put at about 170 million people, the country’s consumes more than 500 million kilograms of firewood daily.

“This is indeed enormous for the forest to bear. Indoor pollution, black carbon emission, tree felling and other associated livelihood trade-offs from the use of traditional cooking methods are issues that affect urban and rural populations, particularly that of women and children”, he stressed.

Earlier in his remarks, the Minister of State for Environment, Honourable Ibrahim Jibril expressed dissatisfaction over the rate of tree felling in Nigeria.

He said in Kano State only, about 20 trailers loaded with logs were being used to transport woods across the country on daily basis.

Honourable Jibril, who therefore, called for a change of attitude among the people, said the mangroves were being destroyed as a result of deforestation.

The minister said there was the need to provide a sustainable solution without necessarily harming the ecosystem.

“The new gas policy would reduce the trend of deforestation, usage of fuel woods and promote clean energy.

“We need to scale-up use of clean energy and make it attractive for the benefit of everyone, especially the rural dwellers. It will contribute to our Nationally Determined Contribution (NDCs)”, he stated.


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