I stepped out of Lagos for a minute, actually I was dragged out of Lagos, but that is a story for another day. I spent over 10 hours on the road (our roads are terrible), especially going to the east.
I arrived my destination late in the evening, tired and dusty. The second I could, I got into bed. That was when it happened. I fell asleep. Not just any sleep though. For the first time in months I slept peacefully. I mean, my chest wasn’t clogged up, I wasn’t struggling to breathe, my sinuses was all right, nose wasn’t itchy. I slept. This miracle repeated itself throughout my stay.
An article I read in The Guardian a few years ago comes to mind. It was about air pollution in Lagos. When I read it, I thought eh its not that serious abeg. I know we have cars and those yellow metal death traps, but Lagos is not China.
Well, we are heading there.
On my return to Lagos (yes I came back, will you feed me?), I took time to observe vehicles. With all the LASTMA, FRSC, and police folks harassing people on the road there are still terrible vehicles plying our roads. Trucks that have no business being on the road, trucks that can themselves be heard grumbling as they spit out black smoke everywhere. Add all these vehicles to the thousands of generators; then add all the industries and imagine of what the air in Lagos is.
Lagos State took steps a few years ago to close down industries emitting smoke and waste into the environment. I heard the hotel of a former Super Eagles player was affected because their generator exhaust was turned into the road.
The federal government also banned the sale of ‘I better pass my neighbour’ (story, story) at some point but is that the only generator emitting smoke?
I have always had difficulty with breathing but these past months in Lagos have been something else. I am forever breathing through my mouth or just struggling to get air in and out. I can imagine what the situation is for actual asthma patients.
Lagos is currently one of the most industrialised cities in Africa and this isn’t going to change soon. More industries will spring up as population soars, more people will buy cars and if the power situation doesn’t improve, more generators. What can we do?