Generator Use Increases Environmental Pollution

25 Sep 2012

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Generator Pollution

 Rebecca Ejifoma

Some Nigerians have said the inability of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) to provide regular electricity was a factor responsible for the use of generators that emit carbon oxide, one of the gases scientists blame for global warming.

Experts said environmental degradation issues have cross boundary effects, thus, it requires cross regional policies and plans of action to address it.

But how can you tackle it when it lives with you every day? Women cook with fire wood, especially food vendors; people burn waste products even in day time; Nigerians heavily depend upon transportation, using vehicles that pump smoke into the air as well as generators and candles, which have become substitute for electricity.

 How do you describe a situation where you find big plant electricity generators in some buildings and mansions, or how do you explain the trucks, vehicles and motorcycles that pump smoke, not only into the atmosphere but also pollute the air and leave the people in danger? What about the makers of these machines and generators that release large amounts of oxides of carbon into the environment with implications on the people’s health and wellbeing? These electricity generators were originally made for companies’ use, not for residential buildings in the neighbourhood.

But have you ever wondered the partial source of this problem in the country? We can only talk about this country we know, where powered generators pump thick black smoke into the air every second, minute and hour of the day.

It is only in Nigeria that one can trace this cause of generator use to the constant interruption of power supply. At least, now you understand that this country cannot do without the use of plant generators and other smaller ones, which are imported into the country daily.

Although, that is no justification for the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), formerly known as National Electric Power Authority (NEPA), to misuse its seat and control the entire citizens. No wonder faithful citizens of the country turned the first name into Never Expect Power Always (NEPA); and the current name, Please Hold Candle at Night (PHCN). Those names truly describe what they do and that is why the people are not surprised. This is just to remind themselves that however the change of name from NEPA to PHCN, it would never change its act. And this is seen even until today.

However, some of the interviewees, who use generators, ask how they could stop using it, when the country had failed them and their businesses.

According to a civil servant, Mrs. Mary Bamigbose, “Electric Power supply from the national grid has been very unreliable, forcing many households to invest in electric generators with grave consequences for the environment in terms of noise and air pollution.”

“Also, Lagos state relies heavily on road transport for the movement of people and services,” she said.

Bamigbose added that the change in the climate was an imminent threat to sustainable development and as such the Government should include environmental management and environmental issues in the implementing and planning policies.

“One of the causes of climate change is the CO2 released from burning fossil fuels, methane Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC), nitrous’ oxides absorbs infra-red radiation and warm the atmosphere,” she explained.

Meanwhile, the managing Director of Biodiesel Nigeria Limited, Mr. Solomon Hussaini, an Engineer, said as countries developed, their carbon emissions also increased due to the rise in energy consumption.

“The Global Economic meltdown poses serious threats as price distortions produces non-equitable results, which weaken international agreements and compliance,” he said.

Nigerians have expressed their thoughts on the use of generator set, whether it pumps smoke or not. A landlord with a 3200 size generator at Akwa-Ibom street, Abule, Mr. Ifeanyi Okorie, said most times there would be no light for days or even weeks.

“At times, in Ajegunle, Olodi-Apapa even in my area, Abule, the PHCN will tell us it is going to repair our transformer, which had a problem. Once they carry that transformer we don’t see it again until after a month if not more, before the restore it.”

 As though that was not enough, the installing would take another days or weeks. Now, during the weeks and months of no power supply, do we stay in darkness, when we can afford generators? Whether it pumps smoke or not, that is not the issue, so long it gives us what we want, light!” he explained aggressively.

He complained that the PHCN charged each compound 20 thousand naira in Akwa-Ibom Street which some of them had already paid for. “For two days now we have not seen light and you expect me not to use generator.”

According to Mr. Robert Fowosere, “I have been in this country even before the time of independence and I know what has been going on. Some people now praise the PHCN for giving them light for some hours. But what they do is still not right, the way they interrupt power supply, especially when an important event is going on in the nation or world, such as Nation’s Cup, World Cup, UEFA Premiere League and Olympics among others.”

He said they connived with big traders to import generators in the country daily and got commissions from them. Both importers of generator and fuel stations conspire with the PHCN to sell.

However, Nigerians, who cannot afford generators, now use candlesticks, which have resulted in the loss of many lives and properties.

Many houses gutted by fire were as results of reading at night with candles and sleeping without quenching the naked light, which burns to the bottom and consumes the nearest thing. While some companies got burned as a result of the constant disruption of power supply, some important documents were destroyed as well.

Many Nigerians, who cannot afford generators, suffer a lot; they go out without pressing their clothes, sleeping without light at night and not getting some vital information’s going on in the world and the nation. “PHCN was disturbing the development of the country.”

He complained that the leaders and big society men did not have any problems with the PHCN, as they could afford generators of various sizes or travel out of the country whenever they felt like it. “We cannot even celebrate 48 hours of non-interruption of power in this developing country, as you call it. Or is Nigeria the only developing country?”