Author Archives: Glory Oguegbu

Barbwire Community Borehole and Solar Street Lights

CONSTRUCTION OF BORE-HOLE AND INSTALLATION OF SOLAR STREET LIGHTS AT BARBWIRE COMMUNITY   The barbwire community is also known as Kpako community (Kpako means wood, and it got this name beacause all houses are one room space built with wood and covered with tapolin to keep out rain. Houses accommodate up to 6 persdons on the average) The community residents are displaced people who relocated from Kuramo beach. It also largely includes persons who cannot afford to rent a house but could afford to purchase wood. The community members are largely poor. They lack access to clean drinking water. The entire 2,500 residents depend on only 4 shallow wells whose water is dirty for drinking. The residents especially children suffer severely from water-borne dieseses such as Cholera and typhoid. The community also lack access to electricity. On a daily basis crimes such as theft and rape occur at night in the streets due to pitch darkness. Before I went for my research, I was warned by a member of the community not to go to the community alone as I may be robbed, he inisisted I went with him to escort me. The project seeks to adress the above problems by providing a borehole and install 50 solar street lights to provide lights in the streets at night thereby reducing crime rate.   The Project ultimately aims to foster a sense of community by promoting peace and security, to promote good health by eliminating water-borne diseases. The project includes the construction of a borehole to provide access to clean drinking water for the residents and ultimately reduce dependencies on the dirty well and eliminate water-borne diseases which has distressed members of the community especially children and infants. The project also includes the installation of portable solar street lights to be mounted by wooden poles and provide light for the community members at night. This will reduce the rate of crime that occur in the community at nights. It will foster community and well-beign as one solar light will be installed in the community square to provide a central gathering space for relaxation where children can also study.   The Construction of the borehole will be managed by the project team until completion (2 volunteers from Glow Initiative fro Economic Empowerment). After its completion, it will be handed over to the Baale (community Chief) who will then delegate a person to be in charge of the bore-hole on a day to day basis. The Installation of the Solar street lights will be managed by the project team and the vendor – Astven Slar, who will have their project team on ground to ensure smooth operation. At this time, I have engaed the bore – hole and solar vendor. We have gone though the processes and they now await my signal for work to begin.   This project will geatly reduce diseases such as Typhoid and cholera suffered frequently by the cpommunity residents, This will lead to good health and general community environmental well-beign. The provision of solar street lighs will eliminate darkness at nights thereby reducing the rate of crime on-going in the community as dark areas which aid crime will now be lighted. The street lights will also foster community amongst the resdents and provide a sense of belonging and oneness and they can gater at the solar light center in the evenings. It will also improve the reading culture of the kids as hey nw have a bright light to study at night with.   Residents will no longer have to spend money on treatment of water-borne diseases thereby saving more money to be used for other things. They will also save money as the frequency of petrol usage for generator will be reduced. The community will make money from the subsidizd water sale fee which they can invest in maintenaing the bore-hole s well as invest in general community activity. In all, This project will promote ood health and wellwing, foster peace and security. The community’s general standard of living will be improved and the people and community as a whole make and save more money.   The people are mostly traders. The women buy and sell petty items, such as proisions. Some others cook and sell food stuff and alreay prepared food. Some of the men work as security guards in the city. Others are involved in the transportation sector, they drive motorcycle commercially (popularly known as Okada), Tricyclr (Popularly known as Keke Marwa) and trucks (for companies). Socially,  They engage in soccer games where teams come out to play and others watch. There is also a local beer bar where people gather in the evenings to relax. They have a women’s food sharing end of year activity. During the end of year they engage in soccer competitions where different teams compete and win a prize.   The water is going to be sold at a minimal fee 50% less than what they previously paid to purchase water. Hundreds of families need to purchase water on a daily basis, this will generate a relatively substantial revenue in a month. This fee will be used to sustain the bore-hole and pay a small stipend to the community worker in charge of water sales. The solar street lights have a life warranty of 20 years. Therefore the panels only need to be placed strategically to get enough sun and it will work appropriately. If there are any issues with the wooden poles, the revenue generated from the borehole will cover for that.  

Recycling; Economic Benefits and Opportunities

23SUBJPRECYCLE1-jumbo Author – Chioma Ukonu
Co-founder / COO, RecyclePoints
Article made in submission for the Green Week and Climate Online Campaign
Reduce, Reuse and Recycle   Imagine if we were allowed to dispose our waste only once in a year, I believe everyone will definitely have a RETHINK on what we call waste, a rethink of what to REUSE or RECYCLE all in the bit to reduce or eliminate what we call WASTE.
Recycling is the process of converting waste materials into new materials/items. It fosters Circular Economy that can save material/resources and help lower greenhouse gas emission, which is equally a better alternative to Linear Economy of TAKE-MAKE-DISPOSE. Recycling can prevent the waste of potentially useful materials and reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials, thereby reducing: energy usage, air pollution (from incineration), and water pollution (from landfilling). Recycling is a key component of modern waste reduction and is the third component of the “ReduceReuse, and Recycle” waste hierarchy.
With the increasing human population the needs for the people also increases. But the point of concern is that are there enough natural resources to service all our needs. What if these resources finish, this is one thing we need to ponder upon. We need to have a responsible production and consumption pattern in order to converse our natural resources. Recycling is simply the process of reusing the items from which utility can still be derived. It is important to recycle waste so that you can at least converse some of our natural resources for our generations to come – Sustainability.
Many products such as paper, cardboards, and paper cups come from trees. In fact trees, petroleum oil, metal ores are some of our natural assets, we can converse trees by recycling the paper products, we can minimize the number of trees cut down a year thereby mitigating climate change. We can conserve oil by recycling our plastics, we can equally conserve our metal ore by recycling our metals. It may interest one to know that our PET bottles are recycled into polyester shirts, straps. Our beverage aluminum can are recycled into ingots used to produce the likes of roofing sheet, cooking pots, window and door frames. Our carton/cardboard boxes are recycled into craft papers for making new cartons. Papers are recycled into tissue papers, High density polyethylene household plastics are recycled into plastic chairs, tables, hangers, pegs etc. Recycling waste not only save our natural resources but also help save energy. By simply recycling an item or making a basic fix to it, we can save all the energy that would have been consumed in the process of making a new one.
To recycle waste is to simply reduce pollution. By recycling plastic material we can reduce air pollution as well as water pollution (as it’s been said that by 2050 the number of plastics in the ocean will be more than the number of fishes in the ocean). Plastic factories produced large amount of smoke when producing plastic material at the same time if we don’t have proper waste disposal system those waste may end up at the landfills/dumpsites where they are burnt and greenhouse and toxic emissions occur. On the other hand recycling requires much less energy and therefore helps to preserve natural resources.
Benefits of recycling includes; it saves our resources, reduces litter, creates jobs, empowers women, eradicate poverty, engage communities and sustain our environment.  

Your Health and Climate Change; What you must know

climate_change_health_impacts600w Author – Dr. Muhammad Muhammad Saleh;
Mandela Washington Fellow and Public Health Specialist
Article made in submission of the Green Week and Climate Online Campaign
Introduction
Climate change, also called global warming, refers to the rise in average surface temperatures on Earth. The gases trap heat within the atmosphere, which can have a range of effects on ecosystems, including rising sea levels, severe weather events, and droughts that render landscapes more susceptible to wildfires.1 Climate change affects the social and environmental determinants of health – clean air, safe drinking water, sufficient food and secure shelter. Between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250 000 additional deaths per year, from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea and heat stress.2 According to World Health Organization (WHO), the direct damage costs to health (i.e. excluding costs in health-determining sectors such as agriculture and water and sanitation), is estimated to be between US$ 2-4 billion/year by 2030. 2 Addressing the effects of climate change on human health is especially challenging because both the surrounding environment and the decisions that people make influence health. 3 Categories of human health consequences of climate change
  1. Asthma, Respiratory Allergies, and Airway Diseases
  2. Cancer
  3. Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke
  4. Foodborne Diseases and Nutrition
  5. Heat-Related Morbidity and Mortality
  6. Human Developmental Effects
  7. Mental Health and Stress-Related Disorders
  8. Neurological Diseases and Disorders
  9. Vector borne and Zoonotic Diseases
  10. Waterborne Diseases
  11. Weather-Related Morbidity and Mortality
  In the case of diseases linked to climate change, a number of populations are particularly at risk. Children, pregnant women, and the elderly are generally more susceptible, especially for heat- and weather-related illness and death, vector borne and zoonotic diseases, and waterborne and foodborne illnesses. Also, children and some minority groups are very susceptible to asthma and allergies that may be exacerbated by climate change. Genetic links and markers that help to identify and define susceptible populations exist for many climate-related diseases.
Climate change has the potential to impact airway diseases by increasing ground level ozone and possibly fine particle concentrations. Breathing ozone can trigger a variety of reactions including chest pain, coughing, throat irritation, and congestion; and can worsen bronchitis, emphysema, and asthma. Exposure to ground-level ozone can also reduce lung function and inflame the linings of the lungs; repeated exposure may permanently scar lung tissue. Cancer refers to a group of diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control and are able to invade other tissues.
One possible direct impact of climate change on cancer may be through increases in exposure to toxic chemicals that are known or suspected to cause cancer following heavy rainfall and by increased volatilization of chemicals under conditions of increased temperature. In the case of heavy rainfall or flooding, there may be an increase in leaching of toxic chemicals and heavy metals from storage sites and increased contamination of water with runoff containing persistent chemicals that are already in the environment. Another direct effect of climate change, depletion of stratospheric ozone, will result in increased ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure.
UV radiation exposure increases the risk of skin cancers and cataracts. Cardiovascular disease refers to a class of diseases that pertain to the heart or blood vessels. There is evidence of climate sensitivity for several cardiovascular diseases, with both extreme cold and extreme heat directly affecting the incidence of hospital admissions for chest pain, acute coronary syndrome, stroke, and variations in cardiac dysrhythmias, though the reported magnitude of the exposure-outcome associations is variable.
Indirect impacts of weather, weather variability, and climate changes on cardiovascular disease are many and varied. Associations between air quality, especially ozone and particulate burdens, and cardiovascular disease appear to be modified by weather and climate. Nutrition is the sum of the processes by which humans and other living organisms take in food and use it for growth and nourishment. Along with clean air, water, and shelter, nutritious food is a basic necessity of life. Failure to obtain sufficient calories and an adequate mixture of macronutrients (calories, fat, proteins, and carbohydrates), micronutrients (vitamins, minerals) and other bioactive components of food can result in illness and death.
Indirectly, there is potential for harm from undernutrition or even famine resulting from damage to agricultural crops and related trade, economic, and social instability; diversion of staple crops for use in biofuels (corn for ethanol or other biofuels); changes in agricultural practices including those intended to mitigate or adapt to climate change; impaired ability to grow crops due to changing environmental conditions and water availability; and reduced availability and nutritional quality of protein from fisheries, aquaculture, and other marine-based foods.
Drought has been shown to encourage crop pests such as aphids, locusts, and whiteflies, as well as the spread of the mold Aspergillus flavus that produces aflatoxin, a substance that may contribute to the development of liver cancer in people who eat contaminated corn and nuts. The health outcomes of prolonged heat exposure include heat exhaustion, heat cramps, heat stroke, and death. Vectorborne and zoonotic diseases (VBZD) are infectious diseases whose transmission cycles involve animal hosts or vectors.
Climate is one of several factors that influence the distribution of vectorborne and zoonotic diseases (VBZD) such as Lyme disease, Hantavirus, West Nile virus, and malaria. There is substantial concern that climate change will make certain environments more suitable for some VBZD, worsening their already significant global burden and potentially reintroducing some diseases into geographic areas where they had been previously eradicated. Waterborne diseases are caused by a wide variety of pathogenic microorganisms, bio-toxins, and toxic contaminants found in the water we drink, clean with, play in, and are exposed to through other less direct pathways such as cooling systems. Climate change is expected to raise overall temperature distribution and contribute to an increase in the frequency of extreme heat events, or heat waves. Temperature, particularly temperature extremes, is associated with a wide range of health impacts.
Recommendations
It is essential that people should invest in their own health to mitigate the health impacts and consequences of climate change by taking the following actions:
  1. Endeavour to plant a tree around your vicinity to improve afforestation
  2. Avoid use of substances that produce bio-fuels and gasses as much as possible like charcoals, fire wood etc.
  3. Avoid indiscriminate burning of materials (e.g. old used tyres) that releases toxic gases to the atmosphere to preserve the ozone layer
  4. Avoid indiscriminate and unauthorized bush burning which usually releases toxic gases that damages the ozone layer.
  5. Avoid unauthorized tree cutting (deforestation)
  6. Avoid illegal mining of petroleum products and other resources that causes chemical spillage and poisoning
 Conclusion
There is abundant evidence that human activities are altering the earth’s climate and that climate change will have significant health impacts both domestically and globally. Some degree of climate change is unavoidable, and we must adapt to its associated health effects; however, aggressive mitigation actions can significantly blunt the worst of the expected exposures.
References
  1. https://climate.nasa.gov/
  2. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs266/en/
  3. https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/materials/a_human_health_perspective_on_climate_change_full_report_508.pdf
  4. https://www.cdc.gov/climateandhealth/effects/
 

Becoming a Green Ambassador; What you can do

ShoppingCart-Banner2 Author – Mary Ajayi
Content Strategist & Editor, Eco Nigeria
Article made in submission of the Green Week and Climate Online Campaign
It was the year 2012 and I was still a student at Obafemi Awolowo University. As a student journalist, I was interested in innovative projects and happenings on campus. This was the reason, why, at around 8 in the morning, I was out of Akintola Hall and at Students Union Building, ready to report on the beatification project by i360. The i360 group, made up of youth who were passionate and committed to making a change in their environment wanted to plant flowers around campus, to beautify it. I thought it fascinating and worth reporting.
It is now 5 years from that time and working with an environmental organization with little resources but a big passion to communicating environmental literacy and working to promote eco best practices, it is indeed true that everyone can make a change, if they use what they have. Change is after all made up of seemingly little things and I firmly believe that it is important to share the work that is being done in the environmental space, as well as pitch in my quota, joining to do the work.
For too long, we have talked about problems, highlighting quickly, all that is broken in our communities. But that’s not the whole story. Maybe you have heard that the most polluted city in the world is in Nigeria, heard about how we are going to lose all our forests soon if we don’t stop tree cutting, and you’re worried about Nigeria’s energy sector, but have you heard about Climate Smart Nigeria, Recycle Points, Sustainable Vibes, FABE Nigeria, EcoNigeria, etc.? These are not just names, but rather some individuals and organizations working to provide solutions to environmental problems in Nigeria.
Are there indeed solutions? Yes. Do they come easy? No, change never comes easy. Can you do anything, be part of the solutions in any way? Yes. And here are few things you can do;
  1. 1. Take a personal stand against environmental vices.
You know the not-in-my-backyard syndrome? It’s the one that says, “I don’t care as long as it doesn’t affect me”. Nigerians have been known to take this stance, especially when there’s a cause to defend. But don’t be that person who looks on when a neighbor throws trash around. Don’t be the one whose car is polluting the air via the exhaust pipe. Be the man or woman who says, “No! Not on my watch,” and help people do what is right; the person who also leads by example and says no to pollution
  1. If you think it’s not right, it probably isn’t. Don’t do it.
How many times have you tried to dish food and you feel you you’ve dished enough but you kept on scooping more unto your plate and couldn’t finish the food then had to throw it away? What about ignoring how you truly feel and burning trash directly in front of your house, or pouring it into the drainage beside your house? You shouldn’t do it, really.
  1. Don’t Join the Bad Gang
Everyone else is doing it so why shouldn’t you? It’s just a sachet of water you want to drop on the floor, and everywhere else is already littered, so why can’t you, right? Why can’t you throw things on the floor in the park when everywhere is already dirty? The reason is simple: everyone else is doing it doesn’t mean you should.
  1. Recycle
Often times, the things we consider trash are useful materials which can be recycled to make other materials. Pet bottles, bottle caps, sachet water nylons, old t-shirts and jeans, etc. are some of these things. If you have lots of these around you, don’t throw them away. Don’t turn them to rags. Recycle them with the help of organizations like M.A.D Initiative – they are doing great work via their Kraft Village – or Recycle Points – they give you gifts for items you turn in for recycling (check them out to see items they work with).
  1. Spend time with nature.
If you’ve ever gone on a picnic or took a walk on the beach, or did something so simple like sitting outside in the evening and feeling the air on your face, you’ll understand the importance of spending time with nature. As someone who enjoys being alone, I find that spending time with nature by doing simple things like taking walks and sitting on a beach just looking at the water helps me connect with myself more and with nature. I have been inspired and gotten mind-blowing ideas through this and I have come to appreciate nature too. There’s no way you’ll spend ten minutes alone on the beach and not want to protect it the ocean from people who would like to throw in bottles or other trash. You cannot go mountain climbing, visit waterfalls or even sit among flowers and not want to protect the environment. Spending time with nature is rewarding, for yourself, and for the environment.
  1. Become a Green Ambassador.
Does the tag ‘Green Ambassador’, sound fancy or complicated? Maybe but try to get past the tag. Becoming a green ambassador is to do all that has been stated above. It is to care enough about the environment that you take a stand to protect and preserve it. It is to also help others do this noble work. It is to take a course on Solar Energy technology or seek internship opportunities with a green organization like Consistent Energy and Green Energy Biofuels to be equipped with the knowledge on environmental issues, it is to join the Carbon Credit Network and own a Green business with them spreading awareness about energy conserving products and be rewarded economically while doing so. It is to organize and host programs for the public, educating and enlightening them about the environment, it is to volunteer and support green organizations like Climate Smart Nigeria, Climate Kids Club, EcoNigeria etc.
  1. Seal it with a Green pledge.
As we wrap up the 7days campaign on caring for the environment, and with all you have read so far, why don’t you take a stand for the environment, pledge to protect and defend it? It’s really easy. Simply determine and begin to care for it and then sign the Green Pledge.

Green Energy: Economic Benefits of Clean and Renewable Energy

solar hero_0
Author – Dr. Segun Adaju
CEO –Consistent Energy
President – Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria
Article made in submission for the Green Week and Climate Online Campaign
Renewable energy according to Wikipedia is defined as energy that is collected from renewable resources, which are naturally replenished on a human timescale such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves, and geothermal heat. In common terms, renewable energy is that generated from natural sources and which can be replenished such as Solar, wind, hydroelectric, geothermal, and biomass. These are the five titans that hold the pillars of renewable energy that have a positive impact on our planet. Renewable energy has proven to have several benefits cutting across environmental, social, economic and even political in terms of energy security. However, this brief article is to review the economic benefits of adopting renewable energy sources as against other sources such as fossil fuels.
A key feature of renewable energy sources is Sustainability. We will never run out of vital sources such as the sun’s rays, strong winds, flowing water, and heat from the earth. On the other hand, coal, oil, and gas are limited sources that will ultimately be run out. This is fundamental bedrock of the adoption of renewable energy sources especially in the development and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
According to IRENA (International Renewable Energy Agency), doubling the share of renewables in the global energy mix by 2030 would increase global GDP by up to 1.1% or USD 1.3 trillion. The report shows that such a transition increases global GDP in 2030 between 0.6% and 1.1%, or between around USD 700 billion and USD 1.3 trillion compared to business as usual. Most of these positive impacts on GDP are driven by the increased investment in renewable energy deployment, which triggers ripple effects throughout the economy. If the doubling of the renewable share is achieved through a higher rate of electrification of final energy uses, the increase in global GDP is even higher, amounting to some 1.1%, or USD 1.3 trillion globally.
The IRENA report further states that improvements in human well-being and welfare would go far beyond gains in GDP. The benefits of renewables reach well beyond the traditional and limited measurements of economic performance. Doubling the share of renewables by 2030 has a positive impact on global welfare, which increases by 2.7 % compared to a 0.6% GDP improvement. If achieved through higher electrification of heat and transport, global welfare would further rise by 3.7%.
Renewable energy improves human well-being and overall welfare well beyond GDP.  Given the distributed and labour-intensive nature of renewable energy, direct and indirect employment in the renewable energy sector could reach 24.4 million people in 2030. Doubling the share of renewables will increase direct and indirect employment in the sector to 24.4 million by 2030. Renewable energy jobs will grow across all technologies, with a high concentration in the same technologies that account for a majority of the employment today, namely bioenergy, hydropower and solar. Along the renewable energy value chain, most renewable energy jobs will come from fuel supply (bioenergy feedstocks), installations and equipment manufacturing.
Compared with fossil fuel technologies, which are typically mechanized and capital intensive, the renewable energy industry is more labor-intensive. This means that, on average, more jobs are created for each unit of electricity generated from renewable sources than from fossil fuels.
In addition to the jobs directly created in the renewable energy industry, growth in renewable energy industry creates positive economic “ripple” effects. For example, industries in the renewable energy supply chain will benefit, and unrelated local businesses will benefit from increased household and business incomes.
The costs of renewable energy technologies have declined steadily, and are projected to drop even more. For example, the average price of a solar panel has dropped almost 60 percent since 2011. In contrast, fossil fuel prices can vary dramatically and are prone to substantial price swings.
Let us now narrow down to a practical case study of how renewable energy technologies such as solar for a small and medium scale barber shop in Lagos can create economic benefits. Our company, Consistent Energy introduced a scheme known as SolarDirect for SMEs and small businesses about 2 years ago with a pilot through the Barbers Association in Lagos. We installed a 600Wp solar technology for barber Efe in Magodo Isgeri Lagos to displace the small generator popularly known as ‘I better pass my neighbor’.
Before the project kick-off, we conducted a survey amongst barbers in Lagos and results shows that Efe was spending average of N7,000 every week to buy fuel alone for his generator. The economics of running his generator is as shown below (in current prices):
Cost of buying a 1000VA generator                 =          N30,000
Cost of monthly fuelling at N7,000/week       =          N28,000
Cost of monthly engine oil @N500/week       =          N2,000
Cost of monthly maintenance                           =          N1,000
Annual cost of running generator                  =          N372,000
This brings the total cost of powering his business to N402,000 a year. We designed a solar solution for his business that cost N450,000 with his paying a deposit of N45,000 down payment and subsequent weekly rentals of N5,000. This has resulted in an immediate savings of N2,000 per week on his cost of fueling his business.
He will repay a total sum of N260,000 in a year of 52 weeks. His payback period is 2o months and we will transfer ownership of the system to him. He will thus access free energy from the sum from after 20 months and he can use the inverter and batteries for another 2 years at the least while the solar panels will last for 2o years more! Let us look at the immediate economic benefits of this solution:
  1. Reduced energy cost and savings of N2,000 per week from purchase of fossil fuel
  2. Zero cost of energy from month 20 for another 2 years more. If we compute his normal spending of N7,000 on fossil fuels weekly, that will be N728,000 over 2 years. If we assume he will replace his batteries after 2 years at the cost of N280,000 (2 batteries of 200Ah at N140,000 each), then he would have saved N448,000 to expand his business more. In this case study, Barber Efe actually opened another barber shop from his savings.
  3. His income increases by 40% after the installation of the solar system given increased patronage due to regular power supply. Also, he attracted more clients because of no noise and pollution from solar power.
  4. Barber efe hired additional 2 hands in his shop after installing solar to cope with increased traffic to his shop while he hired 2 new hands for the new shop. This is increased income for 4 households which will impact at least 20 people (assuming a family of 5 each).
This is the power of renewable energy in impacting the economy of a nation starting from the micro level. And we still have other environmental and social impact such as earning carbon credit on emissions sequestered, improving the climate of the earth with its positive impact on health and productivity.