On October 12, 2006 residents around Lagos Metropolis woke up, to their wonderment, to a hazy atmosphere which was very unusual to Lagosians and indeed to so many people. Many were lost as to what was happening. Some schools, especially around Maryland, Ojota, Anthony and Ikeja, etc had to shut down and sent the children home. Those in relevant departments or agencies could not come out with a categorical statement as to what was happening. That it was smog! To date, no one can have been able to give the figure of the number of persons that were injured by this incident which made breathing difficult.
Well, whether there were records of injury/death or not does not matter now. Of main concern to a number of us is that this situation brought to reality that air pollution problem is very real and actual in Lagos! All along we have been so obsessed with the one that is readily visible – the solid waste which has been a menace all around and is seriously being tackled by the present crop of LAWMA Management.
It is instructive to quickly mention here that the city of Lagos was formerly the capital of Nigeria. Although, it is the smallest of the Nigerian States in size, it is the commercial nerve of the country and has about 70 percent of the nation’s industries and commercial activities. Virtually all industrial, commercial and residential activities in the state rely on generators for electricity to power their machineries and pieces of electrical equipment. Thanks to NEPA, oh no, PHCH who has made power outage her hallmark!
Also, in Lagos a passenger rail transport system exists, but it is underdeveloped and underutilized hence this has been overtaken by private operated buses. It is said that about 40 percent of all new vehicle registration and total fuel consumption in Nigeria take place in Lagos. There are about 2,600 km of roads in Lagos that are frequently congested, with over 1 million vehicles plying the roads on a daily basis!
All these contribute greatly to air pollution in the city which has now been classified by the Federal Government as “Mega.”