The Nation (Nigeria)

Reality of climate change

- Nkir ka Okere Lago .

SIR: Friday July 16 was just like any other day in Lagos State with a weather forecast of light showers (Temperatur­e between 22-26 %c). What most residents of Lagos State did not expect was that the rains were going to last for hours and the flooding that ensued after. As a result, several major roads were blocked with traffic, cars submerged in water, people stuck with many road users getting home at 3 am and many others sleeping over at their offices.

Climate change has been a trending conversati­on for over a decade now and whilst most people argue that climate change is not real, pro-climate change agents have been educating and raising awareness on climate change and the effect that it would have on the entire globe if we don’t start to take very pragmatic actions.

Frequent droughts, storms, rising sea levels warming oceans and melting glaciers for instance are some of the effects that these climate changes can bring which can directly harm humans and animals, destroy their places of habitation and wreak havoc on peoples livelihood­s and communitie­s.

Let’s bring this home. Over the last 10 years, extensive evidence has been accumulate­d by the Nigerian Metrologic­al Agency (NIMET) on climate change, performanc­e and capacity with a focus in Nigeria. In Lagos State, for example, it is estimated that the state will record about 238-261 days of rainfall with onset dates ranging between March 17 and December 5. This has clear implicatio­ns for residents who stay around the flood plains of major rivers in the state to be ready to move to higher grounds when flooding happens. Places like Iwaya, Owode, Ijora, Makoko etc. will be majorly affected in this estimation.

With the rising climate change, it is expected that temperatur­e rise will occur with increased global warmth with an annual increase of 0.2 %c (0.3-0.5 %c) with some parts of northern Nigeria experienci­ng temperatur­e levels of >50 %c. As global warmth escalates, so will rainfall variabilit­y and precipitat­ion of between 5-20% giving an increment to flooding in most states within the country (30 of 36 states will likely be affected). Furthermor­e, with over 5.4% of the landmass lost due to erosion, and about 2.1 million people displaced in the last five years, the effects of climate change are real to us.

Increased temperatur­e has also seen a surge in desertific­ation in most regions with over 62 million Nigerians affected and Lagos State experienci­ng a migration influx of about 2,000 citizens daily thus leading to increased slum housing, insecuriti­es and increased waste production in the state more than it can cater for.

Correspond­ingly, floods have an increased risk of spreading infectious diseases, increased susceptibi­lity for injuries and falls, deaths related to drowning, malaria, hepatitis just to mention a few diseases.

On the whole, we can win this challenge with climate change together but the question is ‘Are you willing to make an effort?”

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