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Climate expert urges tougher penalty for bush burning

A climate expert has warned against indiscriminate bush burning and deforestation, urging security agencies to arrest anybody caught in the act. The Assistant Director, African…

A climate expert has warned against indiscriminate bush burning and deforestation, urging security agencies to arrest anybody caught in the act.

The Assistant Director, African Climate Reporters in West Africa, Mr Mohammad Zakariyya, made the call in a statement.

He said setting bushes on fire usually killed many plants, animals and destroyed natural vegetation thereby exposing human beings to many health hazards and diseases.

According to him, setting vegetation on fire, particularly in the tropics, is a major source of atmospheric pollution, affecting large areas of the globe. 

“Most fires occur in the dry tropics where large scale subsidence prevent deep convention associated with rainfall and thus would not allow the vegetation to become dry enough to burn.

“Smoke has a range of health effects from eye and respiratory tract irritation to serious disorders, such as breathing problems, bronchitis, severe asthma, cancer and premature death.

“The very fine particles in smoke can go deep into the lungs and fine particles, by themselves or in combination with other air pollutants, can make pre-existing diseases of the heart and lungs worse,” he said.

Mohammed pointed out that setting bush on fire had so many negative effects on human beings.

He said that it is glaring that particles, carbon monoxide, hydro-carbons, oxides of nitrogen a negligible percentage of oxides of sulphur are the major pollutants of bush burning and they all have various effects on man and his environment, like reduction of visibility and some respiratory diseases.

He added that oxides of sulphur and nitrogen are also hazardous as they cause respiratory disorders and irritants.

“Where there is short-term exposure to smoke, the particles are the most significant threat to public health.

“High levels of carbon monoxide are poisonous to humans,” he stated.

He called on all stakeholders in Nigeria and West Africa, to find means of educating the people of the region on the dangers of bush burning. (NAN)

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