Managing our own dome before smoke enveloped us

My neighbour had a fantastic one year teaching in Shanghai, China. She spoke fondly of meeting and working with people from all over the world given she taught at an international school. I received a colourful scarf as a gift that is special because it was not just Made in China, it was Handpicked in China – so super special.

So I asked Eve – Would you live there? She didn’t have to think before saying, “No, I would not.” Her salary was fantastic and the company of people was amazing but she is bothered a lot by the level of air pollution.

Sometimes media can be funny, I have read a bit about the high level of air pollution in Chinese cities but having someone who has lived and worked there talking about it in a matter of fact way was believable.

So she asked if we have the same level of air pollution in Nigeria. The question I dreaded because I am sure we have ministers for every conceivable positions imaginable but doing their job is a different thing entirely.

Sometimes mid last year was the first time I paid attention to a factory on Ife/Ibadan road. The amount of thick smoke puffing to the air was unbelievable, residential properties were visible from the main road. The factory was about two miles to the main town of Ife/Modakeke.

It is a recycling factory I was told – perhaps melting metals/plastics ready for reuse? Why do we have to have this built so close to the city? Not too hard to notice this so I pondered on what the fate of the local residents would be health wise if we have two or three factories like this close by.

As Nigeria gets more FDI, I only hope that those in key positions whose job were to pay attention to the environmental impact of industries/factories do their job.

Listening to Under the Dome by Chai Jing brought back the conversation I had with my neighbour and of course that recycling factory near my town. I only hope that someone is paying attention and enforcing regulations before we found ourselves enveloped by smoke.



Categories: Africa, Nigeria

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11 replies

  1. Pollution is Shanghai, Hong Kong is very bad. I remember living in HK and getting brochitis monthly! Ugh!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. When it comes to pollution, Nigeria must rank highly as one of the worst. Lagos state is 3 times smaller than the island of Jamaica, yet the population difference is ridiculous (something like 15 times greater). With this ultra-high density of people, water, air and land pollution is rife and enforcement is weak.
    Even when people are dropping like flies in Zamfara due to poorly managed (ie non-existent management) of gold mining, little is done.
    China is a country where, once the government decides to act things happen. Can the same be said for Nigeria? Do people care about pollution until it is too late and is killing them? In Australia, I heard very heated debates about global warming it is taken seriously there. I’ve not heard about Nigerians addressing such issues, even though Nigeria is a net polluter, you only have to look at the gas flaring in the Niger delta and the acid rain it produces.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Spot on jco – especially Lagos must be on the high side.

      I have heard a handful of people talking about air pollution but not in the way that anyone in power would do a thing about it, but at least…

      The first time I saw Erin Brockovich, the movie – I could not stop but wonder how many Nigerians have been killed due to industrial waste but rather than connect the ‘dots’, we are quick to blame the deaths on witches (especially in the south) and the company will relish on the people’s ignorance.

      I did work in a death-trap coal company in idiom Lagos for a day, I am sure many like it are still operating today: https://folakemiodoaje.com/2014/10/26/nigeria-appaling-working-conditions/

      Without proper health system whereby reasons for deaths are accurately recorded, hard to track when people die in hundreds of the same cause that could have been prevented.

      And you are right, I think the message on pollution is hitting home with the Chinese, this video is still on after almost a week –

      Like

      • What about the sabotage to the oil facilities in the Niger Delta, as either:
        1) Part of theft of oil (ie bunkering).
        2) Wrongly claim that the oil companies are negligent and claim compensation.

        Neither of which is correct, but both are condoned, and even encouraged in some quarters. The real losers are the local people, who will pass on a polluted environment to future generations. Other than lip-service and a few superficial measures to clean up the mess, this thing still goes on.

        Compare the Nigerian approach to the Deep Water Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, in the USA, and you see that Nigerians are very insincere and short-sighted on matters of sustainablility and pollution. Conclusion, this is a very big problem in Nigeria.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Agree on the insincerity bit. I read somewhere that Shell recently paid huge sum as damage control for the areas affected but you can bet that three quarter of the money will go toward legal team that are equally Nigerians and the rest to plot yet another claim – I bet Shell knows this already.

          Like

  3. A very timely warning, especially for Nigeria where silver plating can be found in homes inhabited by people on one side while the small industry with gigantic industrial pollution capacity is in the same building.

    As far back as the 70s, rivulets of green and other colors can be seen on the streets of “highbrow” Ilupeju where expensive homes are located next to giant manufacturing plants. And how about that eye-smattering pollutant that hit your eyes often in parts of Lagos, especially as you enter the city from Ibadan side if you’re unlucky to be in vehicles without air conditioning?

    These are mere tips of the iceberg in a country where unregulated siting of manufacturing that would render a place a “superfund” site” – a place that would require milions of dollars worth of environmental remediation – are common.

    Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi, lovely write up, please follow back. Thank you!

    Like

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