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Methane emission could be major cause of rising heat wave in Nigeria – AfriTAL

Methane emission could be major cause of rising heat wave in Nigeria – AfriTAL

The rising heat wave in Nigeria has been linked to the growing impact of methane emission, especially from human-induced activities which are said to account for 45 percent.

This was disclosed by Brown Ogbeifun, executive director of AfriTAL, which is one of the groups mounting campaigns in the South-South against anthropogenic methane emissions.

The groups include the Environmental Centre for Oil Spills and Gas Flaring (ECOSGF), the African Initiative for Transparency Accountability and Responsible Leadership (AfriTal), and partners, and Stakeholder Democracy Network (SDN), all working on ‘methane abatement in Nigeria’.

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The AfriTAL chief said methane was a major contributor to the current heat wave in the country because methane is 80 percent more potent in trapping heat and carbon dioxide.

“Carbon dioxide for instance can stay in the atmosphere for 100 years, but methane stays in the atmosphere for about 12 years.

“What that means, therefore, is that when it traps the heat, getting it released until it disperses of course is going to increase the wave of heat.

“It is going to increase the wave of temperatures and that is why it is said the methane on its own causes about 40 percent of global heat-related issues within the environment.”

The groups held a roundtable in Port Harcourt with a special focus on methane emissions from anthropogenic sources.

Ogbeifun, a former president of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and a resource person in oil and gas related-issues, reminded Nigerians of the new wave of heat witnessed in the country and appealed for collective action on mitigation.

Speaking on the sideline of the event, he said: “I am sure that every Nigerian today sleeps and wakes up with heat. That should be of concern to everybody. It was not like that in the past.

“Some stakeholders have started to look at why this is now the case and started to pay attention to climate change as something real or more real than what people have projected. People now see that the destruction of the ecosystem is beginning to catch up with human beings.

“We need therefore to take control in terms of advocacy and in terms of trying as much as possible to manage our waste in such a way to reduce the short-term methane emission within the atmosphere.”

On practical steps to mitigate the emission, Ogbeifun said many of the nation’s garbage cans were open. “Many of our waste dumps are exposed within our environment, for instance. So, if we decide to do better by bagging our waste from the house level before putting it in the garbage can, then we cover it, that will be great for the environment.

“Secondly, at the larger scale, within the community, maybe the local government; all those baggage we expose into the landfills, can we begin to bury them properly.

Read also: Can’t escape the heat: Blackouts make Nigeria heatwave unbearable

“Simple things like that can help our villages or our communities to know very well that there are things that we do to help abate methane in our environment,” Ogbeifun said.

He pointed to the consequences of methane in the human body, saying: “When methane is released into the atmosphere, the first thing is that it pollutes the oxygen that you and I take, and when you take in such oxygen, it goes through your lungs before it goes to every other part of your body.

“One of the major implications of methane is premature deaths. There are also asthma-related diseases which are aggravated and that’s a cause for worry.

“So, it is estimated that if we all do what we could and the government is also doing itd bit, that in the next 10 years, we might be able to reduce methane levels, especially from anthropogenic sources by 45 percent and we reduce hospital visitations and also reduce the infant mortality rate.

“I think that is worth advocating for so that we can have a better life for our people,” Ogbeifun added.