Environment experts in the Niger Delta region have asked the governments to provide baseline data for indoor air quality in the region.
They made the call in Port Harcourt, shortly after a roundtable discussion on the theme: ‘Indoor Air Pollution, Workers’ Health and Productivity in the Niger Delta region,’ organized by Selemati Foundation in collaboration with the Rivers State University (RSU) Advancement and Linkage Centre.
Speaking to newsmen shortly after the programme, a professor at Institute of Pollution Studies, RSU, Tubonimi Ideriah stated that air pollution has no environmental or geographical boundaries and it is mostly a consequence of human activities. He noted that until people stop excessive use of contaminants and pollutants indoor air pollution will not reduce.
Ideriah particularly pointed out that the absence of this baseline data was responsible for the inability of experts to easily access and solve the problems of indoor air pollution, adding that access to accurate data and information would enable experts to create the necessary awareness on best practices needed to educate and sensitise the public to reduce indoor air pollution.
The professor maintained that most developed countries have standard permissive limits as a guide, while regretting that researchers in Nigeria have to rely on adopted standard permissive limits from other developed countries in order to ascertain Nigeria’s standard limits which ordinarily ought not to be so.
He urged employers to design or redesign the office environment such that each work area has properly operating supply and exhaust vents, while proactive approach be taken to address Indoor Air Quality concerns as failure to respond can lead to more serious adverse health issues.
Also speaking, an Environmental Health Expert Consultant, Dr Kanu Chukwunenye stated that residents should guide against the sources of indoor air pollution such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), formaldehydes, pesticides, lead, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur-dioxide (Kerosine heaters), the use of charcoal among others.
Chukwunenye cautioned residents to desist from the habit of keeping generators close to residential areas, noting that this negative practice has contributed majorly to the rising death toll in the country.
He attributed the much use of Generators to lack of electricity supply in the country and blamed electricity distribution companies across the Niger Delta region for sabotaging the efforts of governments in ensuring steady power supply in Nigeria.
On her part, the programme coordinator, Selemati Foundation, Rita Kigbara stated that lots of research works needed to be done on contaminants and pollutants as researchers lacks the needed fund to proceed in their research works.
Kigbara called on the Niger Delta governments to support research works in order for them to do their job effectively, regretting that there was a big disconnect between researchers and governments in the region which is responsible to the problems researchers faced in this region.
“One of the challenges faced by researchers is funding and that is why we have little coming from that sector. Also there is a disconnect between what researchers have done in terms of reports and recommendations and what the governments decide to do with them,” Kigbara added.