Air pollution is a serious issue in Nigeria. In 2019, Nigeria ranked fourth among countries with the most air pollution across the globe. The country also had the largest number of deaths due to air pollution in Africa. This article discusses the causes and health effects of air pollution in Nigeria.
Air pollution happens when contaminants affect the quality of the air around us. This often changes the smell of the air and could result in some very serious health conditions. Breathing in the air is what keeps us alive. But the quality of the air you breath in also goes a long way to affect your health and bad air quality is usually caused by air pollution.
Causes of Air Pollution in Nigeria
Air pollution occurs both indoor and outdoor. Sources of air pollution outside include exhaust fumes from cars and trucks, chemical spills, fumes from industries, dust, and other materials outside. Millons of Nigerians use generators, and the air get polluted through emissions generator fumes which produce the deadly gas carbon monoxide. In addition, most Nigerians burn their waste outside their neighborhoods rather than discarding it properly, which contributes to more pollution to the atmosphere.
In the home, air pollution is caused by fumes from the stove, cat or dog fur, mold, cigarette smoke, cleaning chemicals, and the use of firewood and coal to cook. By this, we can see that air pollution is something that happens around us.
All around the world, air pollution is a big problem because of its health risks. In some cities of the world, air pollution also results in visibility problems as it causes smog to appear, making it difficult for people to see far. This can lead to accidents and other unfortunate incidents on the road. Air pollution is a very big problem.
When it comes to its health effects, air pollution has some very bad impacts on one’s health. We would be looking at some of the health effects of air pollution below.
Health Effects of Air Pollution in Nigeria
Air pollution is one of the top leading causes of deaths. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) air pollution kills an estimated 7 million people worldwide every year. Also, a recent World Bank study, the Cost of Air Pollution in Lagos, reported that illness and premature deaths due to ambient air pollution caused an estimated 11,200 premature deaths, the highest in West Africa. The following are some of the hidden health effects of air pollution in Nigeria.
1. Breathing Difficulty
Perhaps the most obvious health effect of air pollution is that it makes breathing difficult. When you are in an environment where the air is noticeably bad, like where there is smoke, you would not be able to breathe very well. This could lead to dizziness, and could even make one unconscious because you are not taking in enough air as you ought to.
2. Asthma Attack
People who have asthma are likely to have an attack when there are in a place where there is air pollution, such as in a room where one is smoking cigarettes, or outdoor where there is pollen in the air. The asthma attack can be quite bad when one does not have their inhaler handy.
3. Lung Cancer
Many people think it is only those who smoke that are at risk of lung cancer but inhaling toxic air also puts you at risk of lung cancer. This is because inhaling bad air can be just as toxic as inhaling smoke, which can damage your lung and cause the growth of cancer.
4. Chronic Bronchitis
The risk of chronic bronchitis is further increased by exposure to polluted air. Bronchitis occurs when the lining of the bronchial tubes is inflamed. The bronchial tubes carry air from the nose to the lungs. This could lead to hard cough and shortness of breath.
5. Heart Diseases
Inhaling polluted air puts you at risk of heart diseases. This is because the particles inhaled could find their way to the bloodstream, making their way to the heart where they could trigger diseases like stroke or even heart failure. According to Dr. Nnenna Ezeigwe, the National Coordinator for NCD’s in the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH ), heart diseases are responsible for 11% of over 2 million non-communicable disease deaths in Nigeria annually
Air pollution could also result in nose and eyes irritation. Staying in a place where the air is bad could cause your nose to run and your eyes to sting you and tear up.
As we have noted, air pollution is something of serious concern. While there is no way to totally prevent it, especially when you are outdoors, you can take steps to keep yourself safe like wearing a nose mask while you are outside. If you are asthmatic, always have your inhaler with you at all times. Get rid of mold in your house. Keep your windows open to let clean air enter your house.