Stakeholder Workshop on Air quality and transportation challenges in Nigeria and agenda for Clean Air Action Plan

CSE organised a Stakeholder Workshop on Air quality and transportation challenges in Nigeria and agenda for Clean Air Action Plan in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Environment (FME), Federal Democratic Republic of Nigeria on November 3, 2015 in Abuja. The objective of this workshop was to involve the concerned stakeholder groups to discuss issues pertaining to air quality and transportation in cities of Nigeria, identification of problem areas and strategies and solutions. 

Eighty two participants including policy makers, experts, NGOs, CBOs and media participated in the workshop. There was representation from the FME, Federal Ministry of Health, Federal Ministry of Transport, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), National Environmental Standards Regulations and Enforcement Agency (NESREA), Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), Department of Urban and Regional Planning FCT, Transport Secretariat F.C.T, National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Directorate of Road Traffic Service (DRTS), National Air Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), Temple Resources Limited, Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Nigeria Society of Engineers, NGOs and CBOs such as National Youth Assembly and the media. 

The inaugural session of the workshop started with a keynote address by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Environment delivered by the Deputy Director, Pollution Control and Environmental Health, Theodore Nwaokwe on her behalf followed by CSE presentation delivered by the executive Director, Anumita Roychowdhury. The other speakers in second session include John Kehinde, Director Environmental Health and Head, Health Emergency Response and Disaster Management, Federal Ministry of Health; Lady Eziawa Ezeka, Deputy Director, NESREA; Aminu Jalal, Director General, NADDC; Abayomi Olawoin, Head of Statistics Division FRSC; Filibus B. E, ACTO,  Mamza A. Papka, Manager, Technical Services, Renewable Emery Division, NNPC; Prince Segun Obayendo, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Temple Resources Nig Ltd. 

The Permanent Secretary in her key note address stated that understanding of contribution of key sources to gross emissions and relation between emissions and ambient air quality status is an important component of the overall air quality management programme. The capacity to plan and manage ambient air quality network at national, state and municipal area level is not adequate. Development of both human and institutional capacity is therefore central to the success of any national plan on air quality management (AQM). This is particularly important in Nigeria since despite the high rate of urbanisation and infrastructure development, the nation appears to have limited expertise in key areas of emission inventory science, monitoring network design and implementation and emission control programmes. As a result, the current AQM programmes have not been holistic but reactive in response to episodes. She mentioned that the workshop is expected to provide understanding of the requirements for comprehensive AQM programme and also come up with definite and implementable action plan for the country. 

CSE presentation highlighted the air quality and mobility challenges in Indian and African cities. Common concerns of Indian and Nigerian cities as well as unique challenges of Nigeria were also discussed, best practices from the region were also shared and a way forward was suggested. CSE suggested that all our cities need Clean Air Action Plan and the principles of co-benefit to guide the roadmap of the Clean Air Action Plan. The strategies included to set and meet clean air target to protect public health; reduce energy and climate impacts of growth and motorisation; adopt affordable strategies that are equitous and meet the needs of the poor and all other vulnerable sections; ensure safe mobility for all; enhance quality of life; and Integrate the needs of livelihood security. CSE also recommended to develop detailed Clean Air Action Plan for priority areas such as air quality monitoring and management; reduce emissions from vehicles; power plants; air polluting industry; and improve energy access of the poor to reduce biomass based cooking; action on open burning and road dust and construction activities.

The second session included issue specific presentations. Kehinde highlighted the public health impact of air pollution. He said air pollution is a public health challenge and measures should be taken for its control. Proper attention should be paid towards the adverse effects of air pollutants and there is an urgent need to review public health and environmental health laws to address the urbanisation and industrialisation air pollution challenges in the country. 

Ezeka informed that the NESREA is a parastatal of the FME and is responsible for enforcement of all environmental laws, guidelines, policies, standards and regulations in Nigeria. The Federal Government has promulgated regulations on air pollution, which includes the National Environmental (Control of Vehicular Emissions from Petrol and Diesel Engines) Regulations, 2011. A number of actions have been undertaken under this regulation including ban on importation of two–stroke engines into the country (NESREA repatriated containers of two-stroke outboard engines and generators), use of four-stroke engines as alternative (fuel-efficient; less polluting; more durable). prohibition of vehicles without approved emission reduction technology, sanctions and penalties on violators. 

The Federal Government has also approved the National Vehicular Emission Control Programme (NVECP) to be run on PPP arrangement to establish vehicle emission testing centres nationwide, annual testing of vehicles for toxic emissions and data collation. This programme will be formally launched in Abuja and Lagos. Another important regulation is the National Environmental (Air Quality Control) Regulations 2014 under which the agency acquired air quality monitoring equipment (both mobile stations and hand-held tools) to monitor and generate air quality data and initiated industrial air quality monitoring and enforcement. There are plans to commence emission testing of generator sets under PPP arrangement. 

Jalal presented about the clean vehicle technologies. The country had phased out leaded gasoline in 2003 and introduced vehicle emission standards equivalent to Euro 2 in 2012. The maximum sulphur limits in fuel specifications (3,000 ppm and 1,000 ppm for diesel and petrol respectively) precludes a higher standard. The NADDC is working with the Standards Organisation of Nigeria to reduce the sulphur limit to 50 ppm. The vehicle testing for roadworthiness certification (MOT test) is under the control of the state governments. The NADDC is also working with them to modernise the testing, including emission testing. A reference vehicle emission test centre is being built in Lagos. He suggested that Nigeria needs air quality monitoring in  major urban centres as there are about 15 million vehicles on roads and mostly concentrated in urban centres. About  400,000 vehicles are added annually, of which 75 per cent are used/second hand vehicles. 

Olawoin informed about the FRSC initiatives on non-motorised transport (NMT). The FRSC has established a National Stakeholders Committee on Bicycle Transportation, designed the first ever National Cycling Policy and Strategy and also established a NMT unit to galvanise initiatives and to institutionalise them. At present work is being done on pedestrian manual. The FRSC recommends that steps should be taken to guarantee the safety and wellbeing of cyclists and pedestrians. These should include inclusion of bicycle lanes on all urban roads in Nigerian cities, trending down of urban vehicle speed to improve safety and provision of bicycle parking facilities in every public premise and encourage their constituencies to ride bicycles 

Papka mentioned that low sulphur fuel is the next priority. He also informed about the Nigeria biofuel roadmap – bioethanol at 10 per cent, 15 per cent and 50 per cent blend in 2020, 2025 and 2035 respectively and biodiesel at 10 per cent, 20 per cent and 50 per cent blend in 2020, 2025 and 2035 respectively. He recommended  implementation of National Biofuels Policy and incentives and subsequent enactment into law to enforce fuel blends, improving air quality management with fuel reformulation, efficient vehicular/traffic management through the use of energy efficient vehicles, mass transit and effective vehicular maintenance. Filibus talked about parking challenges in terms of enforcement and management.  

Obayendo highlighted the challenges in the vehicle inspection system in the country. He mentioned about the inability of the agencies to fully enforce existing laws (enforcement agencies are unable to fully implement and enforce some existing laws and regulations due to lack of adequate equipment to carry out required tests for example, the regulations that guide speedometer checks, brake checks, emissions etc); inability to carry out vehicle emission tests has led to indiscriminate pollution with increased emissions from non-roadworthy vehicles; many non-roadworthy vehicles are still found on roads and poor vehicle maintenance culture among citizens. He informed that Temple Resources Limited was licensed by the FCT Abuja in November 2012 under the PPP to build and operate a network of 6 modern computerised vehicle inspection stations comprising 36 emission testing nodes to cover the FCT area. So far over 30,000 emission tests have been conducted on different engines and vehicles but the emission programme is strictly advisory for now as the FCT Road Traffic Regulation does not spell out emission standards for different categories of vehicles. 

In the third session, the participants were divided into groups to discuss and come up with recommendations for the Clean Air Action Plan. After deliberations, a communiqué was adopted which identified a set of measures to be taken. These include need to develop and expand air quality monitoring and air quality management in Nigeria; need for information sharing and harmonization on air quality and management among relevant regulatory bodies; need for strengthening legal and regulatory infrastructural framework for air quality management holistically in Nigeria.; need for more collaboration among stakeholders in implementing air quality management for joint ownership and convergence of policy actions; need for strict enforcement of existing National standards for air quality regulation in Nigeria; vehicular emission contributes about 48-50 per cent of air pollutants in our cities and towns; need to control air pollution through stringent polices such as reduction in numbers of vehicles, re-designing of Nigerian roads (parking areas etc), import duties on old and new vehicles; imported used vehicle plying on Nigerian road should not be used more than 10 years and new vehicles should be phased out after 20 years; need to encourage non-motorised transport movement such as walking, use of cycling and other mass transit transportation system to reduce air pollution; need for intensive awareness creation on air quality and its link with public health issues and need to harness sources of sustainable funding such as gradual removal of fuel subsidy and introduce fuel tax for air monitoring and management. 

In addition the forum agreed to strictly enforce regulatory framework on air quality and management aimed at ensuring the protection of human health and environment in Nigeria; to synergise, develop and implement the National Clean Air Action Plan and management strategies for air quality issues in Nigeria and further research on ways of improving air quality. The forum expressed appreciation to CSE for its work and support.