Impact of Carbon Monoxide Emission in Nigeria
Carbon monoxide (also called carbon(II)oxide) is a colourless, odourless, poisonous gas produced when fuels containing carbon are burned in the presence of little oxygen. According to experts, it can also form as a result of burning fuels at high temperatures. Much of this gas is being churned into the atmosphere in Nigeria.
When inhaled, carbon monoxide combines with the blood haemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying substance in red blood cells and by so doing, inhibits haemoglobin from taking up oxygen. Since haemoglobin cannot take up oxygen from the air, cells and tissues, die due to the lack of oxygen.
In Nigeria, fuel combustion in cars was the major source of this obnoxious gas. This is has been overtaken by the numerous electric generating sets which dot the whole country – both in rural and urban settlement. Though there is no accurate figure of the number of generating sets in the country, it is believed that on the average, one in every four households in the rural area, and one in every two in the urban centres has a generator. You can therefore imagine the number of generators in this country of over 140 million people. This is so mainly because of the inadequate power supply from the nation’s power company – Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).
For a country with an enormous population, a power generation of less than 3500 megawatt is awful. This has led to serious load shedding and rationing of electricity resulting in erratic epileptic power supply. Someone once jokingly suggested that the power company should be renamed Power Releasing Company of Nigeria (PRCN). Maybe that will stop them from holding back the power.
To augment, households and businesses use generator. For example, it is estimated that more than 20,000 generators come on stream at the same time in Utako market located in Abuja. Imagine such a scenario in the many markets and commercial centres of the country. Most times, these generators are housed in small rooms with little or no ventilation. By so doing, people ignorantly increase the volume of carbon monoxide in the atmosphere.
There are several cases of deaths which have been linked to carbon monoxide poisoning especially when people find themselves sleeping in same room with or close to the generating set. There is still the issue of noise pollution which has not been accurately estimated neither has its effect. Imagine the 20,000 generators in the Utako market being on at the same time. You need to shout to be heard. The quality of most of these generating sets is also questionable.
Many environmentalists suggest that Government should ban the importation of generators but that is the least of solutions because people still need power to carry on with their activities. Before government can do such, it must first ensure that it generates enough power.
It beats ones imagination that the government talks about depletion of the ozone layer and how to mitigate the impact of climate change but has such a terrible record in power generation and distribution. The government should make frantic efforts to improve on power generation since this will reduce people’s dependence on generators for power supply. It will also put her in the good light in her fight to better the lot of the environment.