Onitsha Gets Honored as World's Most Polluted City


Four of the worst cities in the world for air pollution are in Nigeria, according to data released by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Onitsha -- a city few outside Nigeria will have heard of -- has been labelled the world's most polluted city for air quality.

A booming port city in southern Nigeria, Onitsha recorded 30 times more than the WHO's recommended levels of PM10.

The other three cities named in the WHO report for high PM10 levels are the transport hub of Kaduna, in the north, which came fifth, followed by the cities of Aba -- in sixth place -- and Umuahia, in 16th position, which are both trade centers in southern Nigeria.

"The contributing factors to pollution are a reliance on using solid fuels for cooking, burning waste and traffic pollution from very old cars," Dr Maria Neira, WHO Director, Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health, tells CNN.

At home, due to unreliable electricity supplies, many Nigerians rely on generators, which spew out noxious fumes often in unventilated areas. On the street, car emissions go unregulated.
Neira adds: "In Africa, unfortunately, the levels of pollution are increasing because of rapid economic development and industry without the right technology."

The report only included pollution levels from cities with a population of over 100,000 residents that monitor their pollution levels -- something many African cities don't do.

"We need to do an assessment of the sources of pollution at city level, also work on better planning of urban collective transport systems, and take very old cars out of service," says Neira.

"Regarding the four cities in Nigeria, we would actually like to praise them. They are at least monitoring the pollution levels, others are not even monitoring the air, we know that some are very polluted.

"These four cities are moving towards taking action to reduce pollution."

It will also do great good, if we take actions ourselves although there is not much to do as we are left to use Generators when there is no light (which happens most of the time), and this leads to release to more pollutants into the air. 

But, we can keep our environment clean and safe by practicing good environmental habits. I mean when you eat something you should not just dump the wrapper on the road or in the gutter like I see most people, you should safely dispose of it as all this build up into environmental hazards.

Stay Healthy, Stay Wise


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