By Chika Okeke, Abuja
Barely one year after, the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), has failed to monitor air quality on major cities across the country as demanded by environmentalists.
Recall that at the 10th Annual stakeholders’ meeting organised by the agency which took place in Abuja last year, environmentalists through a communiqué challenged the agency to embark on the exercise so as to determine pollution load and enforce relevant laws and regulations relating to air pollution.
According to the communiqué, “They should develop national guidelines and evolve strategies to implement the extant environmental laws and regulations relating to air quality while the federal government should provide adequate funds for equipments as well as vehicles for compliance monitoring and enforcement”.
It was also discovered that the agency have failed to implement programmes on air quality including the National Vehicular Emission Control Programme (NVECP) and emissions from power generating sets.
According to NESREA Act, the agency is charged with the responsibility of enforcing all environmental laws, guidelines, policies, standards and regulations in Nigeria.
It was also mandated to enforce compliance with provisions of international agreements, protocols, conventions and treaties on the environment.
Regrettably, the agency has shunned the execution of its mandate despite its budgetary allocations and support from foreign organisations.
LEADERSHIP discovered that emissions from generating sets and other heavy duty trucks accounts for over 3m deaths annually.
An on the spot assessment at commercial areas in Abuja, Kano and Lagos revealed that the agency was neither on ground to monitor air quality nor were its foot soldiers seen checkmating the use of toxic emitant from generating sets as promised.
Recall that the immediate past minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed revealed that a larger percentage of Nigerians risks contacting chronic respiratory diseases like lung cancer, asthma, heart disease and stroke due to incessant exposure to toxic emissions.
Mohammed noted that thousands of people die prematurely from inhaling noxious emissions from stationary and mobile sources of air pollution.