Policy Responses to Addressing the Issues of Environmental Health Impacts of Charcoal Factory in Nigeria: Necessity Today; Essentiality Tomorrow

Ajayi Folajimi Ajibola, Raimi Morufu Olalekan, Steve-Awogbami Oluseyi Catherine, Adeniji Anthony Olusola, Adebayo Patrick Adekunle


Worldwide trebled of wood charcoal production over the last 50 years from 17.3 million tons in 1964 to 53.1 million tons in 2014 with sixty-one percent of current global production occurring in Africa, primarily to satisfy the demand for cooking fuel from urban and rural households with 2.7 billion people relying on wood fuels in the global south, while, the rural populace in Nigeria use about 80 million cubic meters of wood fuel annually for household energy. The furnaces of the world are now burning about 2, 000, 000, 000 tons of charcoal a year. When this is burned, uniting with oxygen, it adds about 7, 000, 000, 000 tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere yearly. This tends to make the air a more effective blanket for the earth and to raise its temperature. The effect may be considerable in a few countries. With Nigeria’s population projected to hit 410.6 million by 2050 and 550million by 2070 and consequently, becoming the third most populous country on our planet, and with an increased population growth rate in this part of the global village is alarming and worrisome, couple with rural-urban migration in key producing states, including Kwara, Ogun, Osun, Ondo, Ekiti, Kogi, etc. Whilst demand for charcoal is projected to increase in Nigeria, the availability of woody biomass is declining due to widespread net deforestation and biomass being the only energy source of choice due to large scale poverty and unaffordable prices of other alternatives like gas and electricity. While the human population naturally increases geometrically, the power of the improvements in resources goes up arithmetically leading to disequilibrium. This disequilibrium promotes a lot of crises bordering on economy, security, health, and politics among others. It is a fact that human populations tend to increase much more rapidly than the means of subsistence. Given the increasing demand for charcoal, and decreasing availability of biomass, policies are urgently needed that ensure secure energy supplies for urban and rural households and reduce deforestation. There is potential for charcoal to be produced sustainably in natural woodlands, but this requires supportive policies, economic diversification, and investment in improved eco-stoves. New advocacy and public health movement are needed urgently to bring together governments, international agencies, development partners, communities, and academics from all disciplines to address the effects of charcoal factories on health.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22158/csm.v3n3p1


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