By Kehinde Disu
Over the last few months, I have seen people celebrate the purchase of “new” cars; some even gave testimonies in church, whilst others summoned co-workers to celebrate with them. It is the way of the average Nigerian man. We love to celebrate everything, even when a nephew becomes Captain of his class in J.S.S 1 Blue. Lol!
Now, celebrating the purchase itself is not the issue. The crux of the matter is what we claim to celebrate. I have been happy with the “new” cars as much as I have not been happy with the situation. Very weird! Little things matter to environmentalists as long as it affects the environment, even your new car. Please, forgive us.
So while these people were celebrating their new cars, I observed that they were mostly used cars, popularly called “second hand” or ”tokunbo”. I remember the busy Lagos roads and the amount of pollutants being released per second into the atmosphere. God help you if it is a sunny day, your car is not air-conditioned, and you are in traffic just behind the exhaust of an old rickety bus.
While we can agree that the air pollution has many causative factors such as the burning of wood, use of generators and industrial pollution. Vehicular pollution, especially on Nigerian roads is a big contributor. In 2015 alone, it was estimated that about 335,000 vehicles were imported, which means more than 900 used vehicles were imported daily. Most of them have already been used for a minimum of five years before importation. This therefore only causes more harm than good as our poor maintenance culture further adds to the faster wear of the engine, thereby harming the environment faster than it should.
Passenger vehicles are a major pollution contributor, producing significant amounts of nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and other pollution. In 2013, transportation contributed more than half of the carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides, and almost a quarter of the hydrocarbons emitted into our air. We release a variety of chemicals into the atmosphere when we burn the fossil fuels we use every day. We breathe air to live and what we breathe has a direct impact on our health. Breathing polluted air puts you at a higher risk for asthma and other respiratory diseases.
While it is a tough call to put a total ban on used vehicles, it is pertinent to note that we have some automobile companies who have started assembling cars in the country. While the drive should be for environmentally friendly cars, we can say we have started taking small steps towards reducing air pollution from our vehicle use. When next you intend to purchase your car, kindly consider the condition of the car you buy. With small steps can heal the planet.
This post first appeared on sustyvibes.com and is republished here with the kind permission of the author and editors of sustyvibes.com