Transportation as a Source of Air Pollution

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STRATEGIC APPROACH TO REDUCING VEHICLE EMISSIONS IN NIGERIA: ROLE OF FLEET OPERATORS.

BEING A LECTURE PRESENTED BY ENGR. BG IBRAHIM fwc ACM (SED) AT SAFETY MANAGERS TRAINING PROGRAMME AT FRSC ACADEMY, JOS ON THE 28TH AUGUST,2009.

INTRODUCTION

1.In developed and developing countries, the history of air pollution problem has typically been high levels of smoke and sulphur dioxide arising from the combustion of sulphur-containing fossil fuels such as coal for domestic and industrial purpose.[i] Industrial development and the use of fossil fuels have affected the world climate adversely. In Nigeria epileptic power supply has brought about the use of diesel and petrol powered generators virtually in all homes

2.The transport induced environmental pollution in Nigeria, is further compounded by recent influx of motorcycles and tricycles, most of which have 2-stroke engines. Equally, the importation of used vehicles and lack of vehicular emission control also contributed to the high level of pollution in the atmosphere. Petrol and diesel engine motor vehicles emit a wide variety of pollutants, principally carbon monoxide (CO), oxides of nitrogen (NOx), volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and particulates, which have an increasing impact on air quality. In addition, photochemical reactions resulting from the action of sunlight on nitrogen dioxide and volatile organic compound from vehicles leads to the formation of ozone, a secondary long range pollutant, which impacts in rural areas often far from the original emission site. Acid rain is another long range pollutant influenced by vehicle nitrogen oxide emissions. That is why vehicle emission pollution problems are worsening in countries where there is no adequate legislation towards its control.

3.It is for this reason that this paper takes a look at types of vehicular pollutants, causes of pollutants in vehicles and their effects. The paper will identify methods of controlling vehicular emission, the economic and environmental advantages of controlling such emissions. Some challenges militating against vehicle emission control in Nigeria will be highlighted before finally stating the roles expected of fleet operators towards vehicular emission control in Nigeria.

TYPES OF POLLUTANTS IN VEHICLE

3.As the amount of vehicles on the road increases, so does the amount of vehicular pollution. There are four main types of air pollution and all of them are found in vehicle emissions.[ii] They are: a. Carbon Monoxide (CO) – This is a colourless, odourless poisonous gas produced by incomplete, or inefficient combustion of fuel including ‘cold ‘ or badly tuned engine. As traffic is a major source of carbon monoxide, ambient concentrations will generally be highest close to busy roads. b. Hydrocarbons (HC) – Hydrocarbons are released through the exhaust when fuel is unburned or incompletely burned. Considerable amounts also reach the atmosphere due to fuel evaporation. Hydrocarbons evaporate from fuel tank and other fuel feed elements such as the fuel line, carburettor, filter reserve canisters e.t.c. Hydrocarbons also vaporize when fuel station storage depots and motor vehicle tanks are filled. c. Nitrogen Oxide (NOX) – Fuel burning at high temperatures produces nitrogen oxide. During the combustion process, this temperature can reach 2500 degree Celsius. At these temperatures nitrogen and oxygen from the air in the combustion chamber react to form nitrogen oxide d. Particulate Matter – Vehicles will generate particles either from direct emissions from the burning of fuels (especially diesel powered vehicles) or from wear of tyres or vehicle generated air turbulence on roadways. Particles may be generated from the action of wind on the dusty materials that the vehicle may be carrying.

4.At a conference on clean air, clean fuels and vehicles in May 2006, the then Minister of Transport, Dr, Abiye Sekibo revealed that Nigeria’s transport sector as a whole...
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