The Lagos State Government on Saturday 22 January 2023 promoted the “Sanwo Switch To Gas (SS2G)” initiative among residents on Lagos Island, urging the usage of gas for sustainable environment.
Speaking at the event organised by the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), the wife of the governor, Mrs Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, said that there was the need to shift from wood and kerosene stoves.
Sanwo-Olu said that residents should shift to cleaner and more sustainable energy for improved air `quality in the state, thereby making a measurable impact on climate change.
She said that the SS2G project, an offshoot of the Eko Clean Air Initiative, was unveiled in 2022 to encourage an attitudinal change that would ensure sustainable environment.
Quoting a study carried out by the World Bank in 2021, the governor’s wife said air pollution was empirically adjudged to be responsible for 30,000 premature deaths annually, with children below the age of five as the most demographically affected.
She said that Lagos State had witnessed in one way or the other the immediate and often long-term impacts of environmental degradation on the quality of air, land and water resources.
According to her, Lagos as a coastal city, is especially impacted by various human-based activities and a growing population estimated to hit 40 million residents by 2050.
“The growing and often fluid challenges in ensuring the fair and judicious use of the environment for all, amidst multi-level bottlenecks are of critical concern to the state government and a recurring global theme in cities, similar in demographics and socio-economic profile to Lagos State.
“It is, therefore, gratifying that the “Sanwo Switch To Gas“ project is specifically targeted at ensuring emissions from various cooking and other solid and fossil fuels dependent processes are reduced and phased out where reasonably practicable.
Sanwo-Olu commended LASEPA and other partners for the initiative and other various pilot projects carried out, in line with the noble objective of protecting the environment.
She said that these projects included waste for Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinders, waste for cash, waste for free health insurance, waste for free public transport and waste for food schemes, and others.
“These initiatives, according to statistics from LASEPA, have positively impacted the environment and contributed towards improving the quality of lives of residents.
“In view of the foregoing, I urge all Lagosians to support the ”Sanwo Switch To Gas” project and heed the call to join the fight to safeguard the environment of our beautiful state of aquatic splendor. It is a collective duty and a responsibility owed to future generations.
“Let me also call on communities, schools and places of worship to continue to partner with the state government, so we can witness a truly Greater Lagos under the watchful stewardship of Gov. Sanwo-Olu.
“As another electioneering season is upon us, I urge residents of voting age who are yet to collect their Permanent Voter Cards to do so without delay and be ready to fully participate in the forthcoming general elections. It is a civic responsibility that must be fulfilled,” Sanwo-Olu said.
In her address of welcome, the General Manager, LASEPA, Dr Dolapo Fasawe, said that the Sanwo-Olu Switch To Gas Initiative became necessary because cooking with fossil fuels, kerosene and firewood was bad for the environment.
Fasawe said that cooking with firewood and kerosene caused global warming and was bad for people’s health, as they caused chest infections, pneumonia and actually killed people.
“A study done in 2021 revealed that 32,000 Lagosians died from preventable deaths due to air pollution and so this is a fight against air pollution and taking the messages to the grassroots.
“The other thing we’re doing is advocating for recycling. In LASEPA, we say everybody’s waste is somebody’s raw material. We see plastic bottles on the roads that litter the road, because the recycling value is not so much
“What the governor has magnanimously done is that he has put a premium on a bag that will normally be bought for N40. Today, we are buying it for N800 and that is why we see such a large outcome of people,” she said.
Fasawe said that collecting and recycling plastics would ensure that the dumpsites and drainages were free of plastics.
According to her, plastics block drainages, which leads to infections, diarrhoea, malaria and all sorts because they are non-degradable.
“We are advocating that you get reusable plastics. Stay away from single-use plastics and if you must use single use plastics, bring them to us and we will recycle them into chairs, tables, among other things,” she said.
The programme featured residents of Lagos Island bringing in plastics in bags which were exchanged for health insurance, cowry cards to board train, among other items.
By Florence Onuegbu