PM10’s are coarse dust particles between 10 and 2.5 micrometres in diameter. Sources include dust storms, gases emitted by vehicles, all types of combustion, and industrial activities such as cement manufacturing, construction, mining and smelting. Onitsha in Nigeria scores highly on most of these. The World Health Organisation’s guideline limit for PM10s is 20 micrograms per cubic metre, whereas in Onitsha it was recorded 594 micrograms per cubic metre!
“The major problem is that we don’t take air pollution seriously in Nigeria,” says medical practitioner Dr Nelson Aluya. “As the population increases and we become more industrialised, we ought to have active air-monitoring agencies and a federal environmental protection agency. We say they are there – but are they active?” In truth, air quality monitoring and control is not on the radar of many African governments. Nigeria has a long list of environmental protection laws and regulations that are barely enforced.
From the map below you can find Onitsha located on the river Niger leading to the Gulf of Guinea: