The ubiquitous campaign for environmental sustainability has spurred a sensitization of the need to source for alternative energy for our domestic and industrial activities and to make known its relevance to the world. Although, a large population of people are still incredulous about the veracity of the claims of climate change yet we are not oblivious to the perilous impacts of climate change on our environment.
Climate change is very real and it has caused a lot of anguish on people especially in the developing nations where the majority of its younger population are susceptible to hunger and desolation on account of the desertification of their environment. After the amicable agreement at the COP21 in Paris, France, it was highly anticipated that every country would start the planning and execution of policies that will make the agreement feasible but instead, the feasibility of the agreement, particularly in the developing countries, have been marred by unnecessary deferment and the usual problems in planning and scaling of tangential priorities.
The plethora of factors that contributed to the deleterious effects of climate change have been highlighted to us yet no steer of alacrity and political will to counter it. One of the causative factors of climate change is cooking. It is one of the daily human activity especially domestic cooking in households. Taking Nigeria as a case study, a country with a population of over 170 million had 385.1 metric tons of consumption of all ozone-depleting substance in 2009, 0.6333 metric tons of CO2 per capita CO2 emission in 2008 and over 70% of the population are below the poverty line. These spurred 78% of people to depend on solid fuels for cooking their meals.
The latter data shows the largest source of domestic energy in Nigeria is acquired from biomass, which is primarily being severed into pieces and used for cooking. This source of energy is conspicuous on the endemic health complications it levies on mostly women and children due to the direct exposure to the hazardous fumes. The predicament from the use of biomass for a domestic source of energy also extends to non-human agents like the environment particularly through the destruction of the ecological balance. This further leads to desertification in the Northern part of Nigeria and the rapid extinction of plant and animal species in the country particularly in the petroleum producing states where this predicament affects easy accessibility to hygienic water and the extinction of aquatic lives. These endemic health complications amongst many others are the vital reasons that provoke a global campaign for cleaner, safer and more efficient sources of renewable energy.
In Nigeria, the type of fuel used for cooking in households is dependent on the monthly income earned, which indicates the reason why the high class and some percent of the middle class use LPG as fuel for cooking in their households, thus leaving the remaining fuels to the large percentage of the lower-class. The reduction of greenhouse gases through domestic cooking in Nigeria can only be reduced if a new, clean, safe, sustainable and affordable fuel is introduced into the market competing with LPG and reduce the over-dependency of solid fuels and kerosene.
Some of the desirable alternative fuels for cooking in households are bioethanol, electricity and biogas although are still inchoate in the Nigerian market but will compete with LPG if well invested into. In other to achieve environmental sustainability and reduce the perilous impact of climate change in Nigeria, the government is required to do the following:
- Focus on investing in Agriculture.
- Improve electricity in the country.
- Strengthen the educational system especially the secondary and tertiary institutions.
- Reduce importation and create awareness on the use of Made in Nigeria goods.
- Empower the youths by providing necessary skills and encourage social entrepreneurship.
- Encourage volunteering activities geared towards bringing environmental sustainability.
With these listed above, there is indeed an optimism for job creation, rapid economic growth and sustainability as well as the general betterment of the quality of lives of people and our environment.