In recent years, the government of Lagos State has taken some measures towards tackling the challenge of environmental pollution. However, the perspectives of this menace are as varied as anyone can imagine.
The noise from the blast of vehicular sirens by security operatives on a depressing traffic jam, even when no ‘dignitary’ is inside such vehicles, is enough to generate hearing problems for innocent citizens. This torment is further boosted by indiscriminate use of horns. Some trailer drivers are so used to the intimidating noise while some commercial vehicle bus drivers simply play with their horns while on steering, not minding effects on other road users. Some private car drivers do not also see anything wrong in blaring a noisy horn unnecessarily. In fact, they do it unconsciously, constituting nuisance to other people.
There are smoky vehicles that should not be plying Lagos roads because the volume of smoke they emit can suffocate other road users on a traffic jam. A pregnant woman requires divine intervention to prevent sudden hospitalization after inhaling such junk into her system.
When you walk through the inner streets of Lagos today and observe the increasing rate at which people smoke cannabis known as “Igbo” in local parlance at different times of the day, you are tempted to form an impression that government is comfortable with the situation. Of great concern here is the impact of the stench of Igbo on local residents.
Go close to a motor park in Lagos where drivers canvass for passengers, especially those embarking on inter-state trips. You have to shout for anyone to hear what you say in conversation because loud speakers are being used at the same time by various transport companies to woo passengers. This is equally environmental pollution with the use of noise. Have you ever experienced noise menace from a street party in Lagos, especially on a Saturday? Lord, have mercy!
Because of epileptic power supply, almost every Lagos resident has a power generating set. During the day, most of the sets are turned on for business, especially at the markets, shopping plazas, factories and industrial areas. At nights, the sets are running for domestic use. So, for 24 hours, there is noise emission from generators all over the place. It is terrible.
The emergence of mobile phones over the years in Nigeria, has evolved into a level where there are varieties of phones in the market. The ones that are affordable to the population of low income and non-income earners are products from Asia, which have been labelled “China Phones”. The challenge with most of them is that they are usually too noisy when they ring, and they lack volume control. So, they constitute nuisance to people around, when they ring.
The mountain of refuse located at different parts of Lagos in recent times, is overbearing, with the poisonous stench that they generate, thereby, exposing residents to health hazards. This also, is environmental pollution.
In the morning, visit a typical newspaper vendor’s stand in Lagos and observe the noisy tension in the atmosphere as people raise their voices against one another, in argument over the newspaper headlines. Many argue violently over politics and economy while others argue over developments in football and other spheres of life. The noise generated from such arguments form part of environmental pollution.
The noise from loud speakers of religious houses is something else and denies some residents peaceful rest. Also, hawkers of herbal drugs and other items now parade the streets all day, with noisy loud speakers.
The noisy arguments at vendor’s stand, noise from speakers at religious houses and that from street hawkers all have one solution. Government should provide employment and get these categories of people most of who are jobless, engaged. Also, the infrastructure and conducive environment for small scale businesses to thrive should be provided. When this happens, most of these categories of environmental pollutants would be too engaged to continue to pollute Lagos environment with noise. It is one way of reducing environmental pollution in the state.
Secondly, the Lagos State government needs to do more in the direction of reducing environmental pollution in the interest of residents’ health, comfort as well as the city’s sanity and attraction.
Residents of Lagos State equally have a very critical role to play in ensuring that environmental pollution is reduced in the state. For instance, deliberate dumping of refuse at flood channels in the state is a very irrational act and should be avoided.