Lagos State Government has called on all relevant stakeholders in environmental issues across the State to be actively involved in ensuring the attainment of a serene and safe environment that is commensurate with its vision of a smart city.
The Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tunji Bello, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, of the ministry, Dr. Omobolaji Gaji made the call while speaking at the 8th Edition of the Annual Stakeholders Forum put together by Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency, LASEPA, in collaboration with Ministries of Health and Transportation, to promote a sustainable environment on “Noiseless Lagos, with the theme: “Vehicular Noise and Hearing Deficit.”
Bello, while addressing a cross section of relevant stakeholders at JJT Park, Alausa, Ikeja on Tuesday, said that the State Government will continue to partner with relevant stakeholders to ensure improvement in the standard of living of residents of the State by advocating self-compliance in all facets of the environment.
According to him, the ultimate objective of the administration of Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu is to improve the quality of lives of its citizens and develop a culture of sustainable noise management in all sectors of the economy.
In his words, Mr. Bello reiterated that “This 8th edition of the annual stakeholders’ forum on “Noiseless Lagos’’ Campaign is to emphasise the need for active contribution and commitment of all, and for everyone to see it as a collective responsibility towards ensuring a serene and safe environment that is commensurate with a smart city, with trees adorning our neighbourhoods and butterflies returning to its natural place in the environment.”
Continuing, the Commissioner stated that “Today’s theme, “Vehicular Noise and Hearing Deficit” is centred on Vehicular Noise, as a result of indiscriminate honking on the streets of Lagos by motorists, and this stakeholder’s engagement is to proffer solutions as well as provide free hearing tests for everyone.”
In his welcome address, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr Olusegun Ogboye reaffirmed the competence of the doctors on ground and urged the people to avail themselves of the golden opportunity of free hearing test as early diagnosis would protect further hearing loss.
“The earlier an audiologist can identify any issue through hearing test, the easier the hearing loss is treated.
Treating problems when they first arise can prevent long term and Permanent damage to your hearing. Any serious cases of hearing defects will be referred to our government hospitals for necessary attention ” he reiterated.
During a paper oresentation at the event, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, Engr. Abdulhafiz Toriola, informed that the Ministry of Transportation, having realised the implication of inappropriate honking from motorist in Lagos State, introduced the annual October, 15th safety campaign week initiative tagged “Horn Free Day” which commenced in 2014.
He explained that the objective of the “Horn Free Day” in the State was to eliminate noise pollution coming from vehicles by discouraging the indiscriminate use of horns and sirens as well as ultimately improve the health condition of Lagosians.
While saying that transport is a significant and growing contributor to noise pollution globally, the Permanent Secretary, maintained that there is need to promote a data gathering initiative for enhanced policy direction to address the development.
He said that even though there is not available statistics to locally show the contribution of noise pollution to the global health impact on human wellbeing in term of percentage, Engr. Toriola, said concerted efforts and synergy are required by all stakeholders in a bid to promote a healthy environment devoid of noise pollution and significant investment in this regards will be necessary.
The Permanent Secretary also advocated stronger institution, partnership, stakeholder’s engagement, political will, legal framework and implementation that will be beneficial to achieving a noiseless environment, mandate of the UN decade of action and meet up with best practices.
Also speaking at the event, the General Manager of LASEPA, Dr. Dolapo Fasawe, affirmed that the annual “Noiseless Lagos” campaign usually organise by the Agency to sensitize and create awareness on the menace of noise pollution due to the fact that noise pollution has become a recurring decimal in the state environmental protection activities, attracting more public complaints and conflicts over the years.
She described noise pollution as an unlawful act as stated in the State’s Environmental Management and Protection Law of 2017, Section 177 which clearly stipulates the prohibitions on wilful actions to cause noise pollution in any environment in Lagos State, adding that LASEPA has the responsibility of protecting and safeguarding the environment of Lagos and its citizens from all forms of environmental pollution and degradation.
The General Manager emphasised that the International Noise Awareness Day, INAD, celebrated every last Wednesday of April, has put Lagos State on the World Map as the first City in West Africa to take steps in doing something about bothersome noise. “LASEPA, being the implementing organ of the State Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources for regulating noise pollution amongst others, domesticated the campaign and tagged it “Noiseless Lagos”
Corroborating the earlier submission by the Commissioner, Dr. Fasawe revealed that 81.8% of the total number of complaints received at the Agency yearly are on noise pollution. This, according to her, made the agency to explore Alternative Dispute Resolution method of settling environmental disputes, as a result of the number of noise pollution complaints received.
The General Manager recalled that the Agency in an attempt to address noise pollution partnered with the State Ministry of Transportation and the National Union of Road Transporters, NURTW, where free hearing tests was conducted for transporters, commuters and other road users, saying that the outcome of the Test results culminated in the announcement of the ban on the use of public address system at motor parks and garages to call passengers.
Fasawe listed other efforts by the Agency in addressing noise pollution to include awareness walks on possible loss of hearing from excessive exposure to noise pollution, school advocacy on noise pollution, installation of the NO NOISE/NO HONKING ZONE Signage within the premises of some schools and Government hospitals to promote the serene ambience of the environment required for learning and good healthcare.
In his earlier presentation, Titled ” Vehicular Noise and Hearing Deficits, Director, Special Projects, Ministry of Health, Dr. Tolu Ajomale expressed that continuous noise level will result to hearing damage and could lead to permanent or temporary loss.
According to him, loud noise can cause ringing, hissing, or roaring in the ears (a condition called tinnitus) which occurs immediately after exposure to the loud noise which can be an indication of early hearing damage.
“Let us prevent our ears from damages as permanent hearing loss can neither be corrected by surgery nor a hearing aid. Seek early medical attention if constantly expose to extremely loud noises “he advised.
Over 250 free ear plugs were also distributed to the beneficiaries to protect their ears from loud noises and further prevent hearing loss