NEWS

COVID-19: Why Pollution From Generators May Affect Us More, By Okechukwu Chukwuebuka

As the world battles the recent Corona Virus outbreak, many countries have like Italy and Ecuador have been greatly affected with the vulnerables and poor suffering more. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a new virus. With over 1.4 million infected cases around the world and 87,706 deaths, Nigeria has its own fair share from the figures. The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) last reported there are 276 confirmed cases, 44 recovered cases and six deaths. The agency, alongside government institutions have been commended for their role and heads-on approach in containing the spread of the virus in the country.

More Demand for Power

Covid-19 has spread around the planet, sending billions of people into lockdown, with an increase in demand for power especially in Nigeria. Many are forced to work from resorting to much dependence on constant electricity. From working and video calling during the day to online betting Nigeria and video games at night, all of these activities need electricity and power. Nigerians spend more than 14 billion dollars every year to power their generator due to the epileptic power supply. With this lockdown, the figure may double this year as many have no option than to rely on the poor power supply to complete their daily tasks.

The Pollution Factors

Limited time outside the home means many are dependent on generators. This will also mean more pollution during this time in Nigeria. It’s interesting to note that this isn’t happening in other countries around the world. For example, the air quality has actually improved in big cities in India, while places in Italy and China are also experienced less pollution. In particular, a reduction in nitrous oxide gases.

While there are less cars on the road and industrial emissions during coronavirus, it seems like generators will increase noise and air pollution across Nigeria. For example, fuel stations in Lagos have said that hardly anybody is buying fuel for their vehicles. Instead, they are coming to full up jerrycans so that they can fuel their generators.

There are some businesses that are helping their employees during this time. For those that are encouraged to work from home, some companies are offering stipends. In particular, this is to cover generator costs. This is going to cost more money for people in Nigeria and since they are vital for work and general living, people are left with no choice but to keep purchasing fuel.

It is hard to believe that the Senate still wants to proceed with a bill to ban the importation of generators. It is clear to see that they are vital for the wellbeing of Nigeria until a better national grid can be established. Interestingly, a request for a five-year ban on generator importation was rejected in 2019. Senator Francis Fadahunsi wanted to prevent generators increasing. However, this was rejected unlike the ban that happened in 2015, which banned common generators that were imported. Once coronavirus is over, it will be interesting to see what the future holds.

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