Will You Use Your Power on March 29, 2014?

28 Mar


”Each of us can be a Super Hero for the planet.”

A record 160 countries  and territories across some 7000 cities and towns including Nigeria, will be participating in the world’s largest celebration for the planet on March 29,  at 8:30PM local time. Earth Hour, organised by WWF, has evolved into the world’s largest environmental grassroots movement connecting hundreds of millions of people across all seven continents. The movement  has grown from a single lights out event to the world’s largest grassroots movement for the environment, and the actual dedicated hour remains a key driver of wider engagement to act on environmental priorities across the world.

Starting in New Zealand, Earth Hour will make its way through 157 countries and territories passing all seven continents including Australia, Asia, Europe, Africa, then to North and South America, and even to Antarctica, before ending in Tahiti.

Turning off our lights for an hour won’t stop climate change–not even if we all do it, so the event is about more than 60 minutes in the dark. It’s a aimed at inspiring earth’s humans to pledge to take action for our planet.

You can be part of the Nigerian movement in these cities:

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7 million People Died Worldwide From Air Pollution in 2012

27 Mar

Photo: AP

Photo: AP

WHO has reported that in 2012 around 7 million people died – one in eight of total global deaths – as a result of air pollution exposure. This finding more than doubles previous estimates and confirms that air pollution is now the world’s largest single environmental health risk. In Nigeria, smoke from indoor air pollution contributes to 95,000 deaths every year.
In particular, the new data reveal a stronger link between both indoor and outdoor air pollution exposure and cardiovascular diseases, such as strokes and ischaemic heart disease, as well as between air pollution and cancer. The new estimates are not only based on more knowledge about the diseases caused by air pollution, but also upon better assessment of human exposure to air pollutants through the use of improved measurements and technology. This has enabled scientists to make a more detailed analysis of health risks from a wider demographic spread that now includes rural as well as urban areas.
“Cleaning up the air we breathe prevents noncommunicable diseases as well as reduces disease risks among women and vulnerable groups, including children and the elderly,Dr Flavia Bustreo, WHO Assistant Director-General Family, Women and Children’s Health says “Poor women and children pay a heavy price from indoor air pollution since they spend more time at home breathing in smoke and soot from leaky coal and wood cook stoves.”
The release of this data is a significant step in advancing a WHO roadmap for preventing diseases related to air pollution. This involves the development of a WHO-hosted global platform on air quality and health to generate better data on air pollution-related diseases and strengthened support to countries and cities through guidance, information and evidence about health gains from key interventions.
Solving Nigeria’s energy crises could be the first strategy to reducing these deaths in our country.

First Outdoor Solar-Powered Computer Hub Launches in Nigeria

25 Mar


‘Project Hello World’, is an initiative that provides
Internet access and digital education to underprivileged African communities.
The first of the outdoor solar-powered computer stations, called ‘Hello World
Hubs’, has been installed in Nigeria and is expected to reach over 2,000 children
and adults in Suleja, Niger State. Having never interacted with the Internet before, the children of Suleja have
quickly adapted to the new technology and can regularly be found playing the
Hub’s pre-programed math and science games — often sharing a screen
between 14 or more children.

Click link for video. http://youtu.be/_8mygrERY2s

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Greening a Party

17 Jan


Mami will turn 1 in a few weeks, and so I found and wore my thinking cap. Uneasy I was wearing this cap on a head that dreams of a ¨Green Children’s Party¨ in Nigeria. How could I possibly organize a children’s party without all the waste that usually comes from food, decor and the baba of them all…party packs, usually a plastic bag filled with inferior plastic items? I have seen children leave excitedly with their packs, only to begin the destruction right before the party ends, or just a few hours or days after the party. I don’t like it….QED, HOHAAA!!!!! Not because the children are naturally destructive, but because they are children, and would easily destroy anything not built to last. Moreover for some of these children, they desperately don’t need these items……. they have been to so many parties, they own way too many toys and gifts, and therefore really won’t attach any value to most of the items. I dream of a party where every item would be valued, and used in a sustainable manner, and yes, by children. Yes….. it’s possible to start teaching them about minimalism, conservation, protection, recycling, and how not to waste early. I’m still trying to figure out how to bring this green dream alive. I will share in another post how I worked it out or not, perfectly or not.
Every child deserves to be happy on their special day, and for the rest of their lives, but making them happy while wasting earths’ resources would amount to compromising their access to vital resources in the future. If we continue using without care and consideration, a Christmas without harmattan is eminent for children in this part of the world, just as the dream of a white Christmas might become far fetched for children some countries away. I’m still dreaming of my green party. Any ideas?

Photo- bigdotofhappiness.com

Fashion Thinks Water

7 Sep

Most businesses are beginning to think not just about profit, but also about the environment and sustainability.
Swedish fashion retail companies Indiska, KappAhl and Lindex have announced that they are expanding their cooperation with the Stockholm International Water institute (SIWI) during 2014 to improve sustainable water management practices at their supplying production houses in India.
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World Water Week 2013

6 Sep


    With the world’s population and economies growing fast while the amount of available water remains the same, collaboration over our most essential resource is more urgent than ever. The irony is that a lot of people, and lots of those around me do not believe this, therefore do not care about this piece of information. As a matter of fact, some have told me categorically that I am over rating the issues, and questioning if God who kept the water many ears before I was born did not plan for the future generation. My final statement usually is that saving will not cost us our left eye, so just save just incase science is right. Water management is the reason World Water Week holds yearly.
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The Poor Also “POOPOO”…….. a tale of two countries

11 Apr

A boy defecating openly in Holumbi Kalan Phase two

Jennifer Uloma Igwe is a passionate and award winning environmental journalist.  She is a senior and principal reporter, news anchor, producer and programmes presenter with the Nigerian Television Authority-NTA, a two time fellow of the climate change media partnership-CCMP, has a Kaiser Family Foundation Media Fellowship in Health and an Alumni of the School of Media and Communication,Pan African University, among others. She writes on open defecation in Nigeria and India.

A little boy of about six years old stormed out of a ramshackle structure in Holumbi Kalan Phase two, New Delhi, to answer a inevitable call. The urgency with which he ran was a reflection of how powerful the call by nature can be. Under normal condition this child ought to have done this important life function in the privacy and comfort of a toilet, probably supervised by an adult. Openly and rather oblivious of the many activities happening around him he publicly defecated.This scenario is rather the norm in India,especially among slum settlements like Holumbi Kalan 2.

Nearly 60 per cent of those practising open defecation worldwide,according to a report by UNICEF, live in India. Only 31 % of households have access to sanitation,While about 626 million people ( five times the size of Nigeria and about twice the size of the US) still defecate in the open. The situation is quite a challenge because in spite of 20 million toilets being constructed every year by the government,demand for their use is minimal. Experts say its lack of availability in some areas and a complex case of behavior, habit and attitude in others. This is because most people especially those in the rural areas and slums would prefer to openly defecate rather than use a toilet.Largely built toilets by the government on the other hand attracts some fees. In Holumbi Kalan 2 for instance one rupee is charged for urinating while stooling cost two rupees.

Dr. Anita Harish, is a medical doctor with the Child Survival India(CSI), a non profit initiative that provides free healthcare through mobile clinics in slums like Holumbi khurd, Holumbi Kalan phase 2 and some other states. According to her “due to bad sanitary condition in these communities we get a lot of diarrhea in children even in elderly. Many of the patients have skin problems as a result of poor hygiene. 70% of the patients we treated initially had ailments related to them. Today although there is remarkable improvement,we still have many of such cases”. The mobile clinic attends to about 120- 140 patients daily.

Dr. Beeps Bajaj, the chief executive of CSI ,noted that lack of and use of toilets in addition to limited access to portable water supply and poor hygiene are contributory factors responsible for many sicknesses in the areas they cover. Dr Bajaj said “previously before we came there were lots of deaths from diarrhea, cholera and malaria including air and vector borne diseases”. Management of these health challenge she says is also crucial for maternal care and child survival. According to her many of the women they treat say they opt for open defecation because if for instance they or their children or other members of their households need to stool more than once a day,that would mean additional expenses. Each visit to the rest room would be definitely be accompanied by rupees from the sick pockets of many of the families.The case is even worse if any of them has diarrhea,rather inevitably doing their thing any where in the open becomes a welcome option.


Makoko Water Slum in Lagos


The Indian case is not too far from the ” short put”system in some slums and rural communities in Nigeria. Named after the popular age long sports, short put,this type of open defecation is done in polythene bags or papers and flung into the nearest bush, waste dump or drainage. In some worst case scenarios,it could become an unwanted parcel and sight at your gate or road side.
Kayode,a resident of Pedro Village, a shanty slum Makoko,under the Mainland Local Government Area of Lagos State (a community which has been declared illegal by the state government) says the “short put” system is for them a necessary evil. Toilets he says are luxuries many cannot afford and for a community with thousands of households this important facility he says is virtually non existent ” I don’t know any house that get toilet for this place o” He lamented in broken English. “Na inside water we dey shit and water go carry am go. You fit shit for nylon throw way am for where dem dey throw dirty”. According to him they would prefer to use toilet facilities but have no access to them.

The Lagos State commissioner for Environment,Tunji Bello,says the state has so far provided over a hundred public toilets. He noted “we discovered that its not about building toilets,but changing the bad habits people have of defecating openly. We are already creating awareness on this and encouraging the private sectors to invest in public toilets, as government can not do this alone”. And although many Lagosians agree that the ten, twenty,fifty to hundred naira charged for use of public lavatories are very minimal tokens, some in very low income areas beg to disagree.

 A report by UNICEF and World Health Organization in 2012,shows that more than 1.1 billion people in the world practice open defecation. The largest number of these people are in India (626 million), followed by Indonesia (63 million), Pakistan (40 million), Ethiopia (38 million), and Nigeria (34million).

Lack of sanitation and hygiene,according to medical experts in Nigeria,are the major causes of some contagious disease, including diarrhoea, cholera and typhoid.