Aprofessor of environment, Christian Madu, has reiterated the need to prevent escalation of greenhouse gases emissions in the wake of rising cost of cooking gas in Nigeria.
Mr Madu said “it is very important to protect the gains that have been achieved towards zero emission of greenhouse gases in the country.”
The don, who heads the Centre for Environmental Management and Control, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), made the call on Saturday in Enugu while speaking on impact of the rising cost of cooking gas, also known as Liquefied Natural Gas.
Mr Madu suggested use of biogas from soakaways as a cheaper source of eco-friendly household fuel. He noted that biogas technology is booming in many countries.
“Biogas can be harvested from soakaways and other animal wastes and food waste by using a bio-digester.
“Portable bio-digesters can be bought for family use to supply the needed biogas for cooking.
“This will be a cheaper alternative in the end. Even though the initial investment may be high, the long-term return may justify the investment. Bio gas is environmentally friendly,’’ he noted.
In the short run, Mr Madu urged the federal government to subsidise the cost of cooking gas for low income households to mitigate negative environmental impact.
“There may be a need to develop subsidy programmes to control the cost, and relax some of the taxes and regulations that may contribute to the high cost of cooking gas,” he said.
According to him, the high price of cooking gas should be checked to avoid its potential consequences on the environment, especially by subsidising it for rural communities already given free cylinders by the federal government.
“The rising price of cooking gas may erode all the gains made in sensitising many households in rural communities, on the need to switch to the use of cooking gas as a cleaner and sustainable environmental option.
“The rural dwellers and the poor will actually bear the brunt of this.
“With the continuous meltdown in the economy, more and more people may switch back to the use of firewood, charcoal, and other unsustainable practices for cooking.
“These efforts will increase the generation of greenhouse gases, especially carbon into the atmosphere,” he said.
Mr Madu said that the poor households already using cooking gas have very little viable short-term options to cooking gas.
The don noted that the best short-term option now is for the government to find ways to remain focused on the use of cooking gas.
The price of cooking gas, among other household fuels, skyrocketed to N8,000 per 12.5kg cylinder, according to a market survey by Peoples Gazette on October 10.
Marketers say the price could further hit N10,000 per 12.5kg cylinder by December.