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Author Name: David Stephen
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Capping Carbon and Methane Emissions In Nigeria
Author: David Stephen | March 02, 2011

Recent anomaly in weather condition around the world suggests that global warming effect is felt. Global warming can be described as increase in the average temperature on the Earth surface; this maybe due to presence of more heat trapping gases around the Earth atmosphere. Human approach to mitigate global warming effect is cutting and capping emissions of heat trapping gases. Cutting emissions by promoting use of materials that produces little or no emission and capping emissions by planting & maintaining trees to allow for continuous gaseous exchange with certain harmful gases and other safe practices in handling gases that cause global warming. Globally, individuals, institutions and nations are doing their best to extenuate global warming effects to the environment, Nigeria is not an exception, the Government through the Federal Ministry of Environment and state ministries of environment have been able to lay in policies, projects and symposiums to combat climate change. Global warming is said to cause climate change; however, Global warming and climate change are used interchangeably, Climate change simply means change in worlds climate. This writing suggests how to cap two of the emissions that we are prone to in our nation carbon emission and Methane emission. Carbon emissions are released from burning fossil fuels that are used to power vehicles, generators and so on. Methane gas is also produced from decomposed waste products of ruminant animals which is common in our nation. There are many trees and green plants in Nigeria, very obvious across the expressways when traveling by road around the country. There are also many green plants in villages across the nation since development has not allowed deforestation in those areas. Several major cities in Nigeria have little or negligible number of trees to help trap carbon emissions released within the streets. Low wind speed at times preclude gases emitted from traveling far making them stay in that environment for sometime. State ministries of environment can plant and maintain a number of fast growing, carbon trapping trees on busiest streets across major cities within the state to help nail carbon emissions. Depending on how long a street is 1-10 may be available per street. In some cities very close to villages where there are many trees, a single or no tree maybe planted on the street, since the wind speed will help carry emitted carbon to the trees around. For trees that grow very fast and those having broad leaves, they can be conditioned to continuously inhale carbon dioxide by watering the soil during sunny hours to ensure that gaseous exchange for photosynthesis and transpiration occurs simultaneously. Transpiration is the process by which water absorbed by plant root is exhaled as water vapor to atmosphere mainly from its leaves; photosynthesis is the process that plants converts sunlight into food for energy. For example the broad leaves of banana trees, well conditioned and grown specie of it can trap at least 0.0005part per million by volume of carbon dioxide (CO2) on a sunny day. Circadian maintenance of trees planted around busy streets through state Ministries of Environment especially during dry season will help cap carbon emissions. (Part per million by volume refers to the number of parts of a substance in a million parts of another substance). Fast Growing Malaysian tree (Albizzia falcata), grows 10.75metres in just over a year. Candlenut, a Malaysian evergreen tree (that keeps its foliage round the year) can grow to about 18meters. These trees will help assimilate CO2 to make their own food when combined with light and water. Since their growth is rapid, they are able to absorb CO2 during growth and at maturity. Efficacious plants peculiar to our environment and conditions should be planted and maintained around cities to ensure we go green & stay green. Further more people will be encourage to cap emissions by planting trees and using other measures, Government effort is required at first to convince people to do likewise. The Government will be involved on a go green exercise which is somewhat city beautification exercise. Transpiration is the evaporation of water vapor from plant surfaces, especially from the surface openings, or stomata, on leaves. Stomata transpiration accounts for most of the water loss by a plant, but some direct evaporation also takes place through the surfaces of the epidermal (the outer protective layer of plants) cells of the leaves. It is shown that transpiration is a necessary evil, whereby without it, gaseous exchange cannot occur within the plant. This means that the stomata have to be open to lose water from the plant thereby enabling CO2 to enter into the plant for photosynthesis. During hot temperatures when photosynthesis is apposite to occur, guard cells of leaves are flaccid (after morning transpiration) there is no water to absorb from the soil, stomata pores close up halting CO2 intake which forefends photosynthesis. If there are routine wetting for plants, during dry season especially in the afternoon, we can be sure of an on-point CO2 trapping plant. Some plants tend to loose water from the surface every day, for example date palm losses 450litres daily, a large maple tree losses 200litres, while a sun flower looses 5litres and single corn plant losses 2litres. Their water loss rate can be made proportional to their gaseous exchange rate for photosynthesis. Intermittently, vans will be used to monitor plants to provide them with certain minerals and ions they need to grow and also provide water where provided water pumps are out of place or where water pumps are not available. There are trees on busy streets of major cities, these should be additionally maintained by respective state ministries, but for those at residence of individuals and groups, advice to wet and manure their plant may be given to them by state ministries of environment. Certain states in Nigeria are arid environment; during rainy season water pumps to wet plants should be in proper working condition. Information on environmental conditions for planting will be available from the ministry of Agriculture of each state in order to keep the project in perpetuity. Assistance as usual will be given to farmers for their work and they will be made to understand government motive of the exercise to plant trees in densely populated areas which is to help absorb most of the emissions produced there instead of relying on trees some 30-50km away. Some Northern states may also plant xerophytes, which grow in deserts absorbing CO2 at night and saving it for next day photosynthesis instead of relying on transpiration in those extremely hot areas. The Federal Ministry of Environment may have colloquium with state commissioners for Environment and other partners to discuss a plant-fast-growing tree on busiest streets of major cities in all states of the federation, to maintain them and existing ones. Trapping methane gas released by decomposing dung of livestock will help reduce careless emission of a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Greenhouse Gases (GHG) are heat trapping gases present in a layer of the Earth Atmosphere, they keep the Earth surface at average temperature as we have it; more of such gases available by emissions (natural and anthropogenic) leads to more heat trapped thereby increasing the average temperature of the Earth. Pollutants from unmanaged livestock wastes can degrade the environment, and methane emitted from decomposing manure contributes to global climate change. Methane gas has a Global Warming Potential (GWP) of 21 and 37% of anthropogenic methane are from livestock; but greater percentage coming from cattle. Ample cattle are found in Nigeria for both dairy and beef purposes. Global warming potential (GWP) is a measure of how much a given mass of greenhouse gas is estimated to contribute to global warming. Carbon dioxide has a GWP of 1 since it is the standard used to measure for other GHG. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas with a GWP of 72 (averaged over 20 years) or 25 (averaged over 100 years). Methane in the atmosphere is eventually oxidized, producing carbon dioxide and water. As a result, methane in the atmosphere falls to half of its initial value in seven years. Livestock population in Nigeria has been estimated to consist of 16 million cattle, about 13.5 million sheep, some 26 million goats, approximately 2.2 million pigs and 150 million poultry animals. Many of the nomadic herdsmen both up North and down South have little or no knowledge of what harm decomposed dung of their cattle can cause the environment. When their cattle is taken to graze, the cattle usually empty their bowels as they move around leaving the dung as manure for grass and release biochemical oxygen demand, pathogens, nutrients, methane, and ammonia emissions. The major pollution problems associated with these wastes are surface and groundwater contamination and surface air pollution caused by odors, dust, and ammonia. Cattle are reared at several places (90% in Northern Nigeria) without definite plans on how to properly dispose their dung to avoid decomposition and release of methane gas. There are several other ways that methane gas is released into the atmosphere: mining of coal, production and transport of natural gas and oil, garbage and methane clathrates in ocean floors. Belched methane gas by cattle accounts for 16% of the world's annual methane emissions to the atmosphere. Certain research has found a number of medical treatments and dietary adjustments that help limit the production of methane in ruminants. Nigeria as a developing country has not evenly distributed such for herdsmen. Most herdsmen are careless with the way they dispose dung, contributing ignorantly to climate change. We are aware of circumstances that beset Nigeria as a nation, which will not completely make sophisticated findings in the West exactly applicable here. Factors related to development and available capital, may not completely allow solutions proffered applicable and feasible in our environment. Government should support waste Management in all the states in Nigeria to have a sequel structure to safe disposal of organic matter from cattle by herdsmen. The Federal Government may also be looking at building large regional modern landfills in the six- geo political zones of the country first to kick start development in waste management across the country. Some nomads go alone, in twos or as triad with a number of cattle to graze. The cattle usually have permanent abode where they grow them, provide them with fodder and sell them there or somewhere else. These will be locations that State Governments will uncurl special support consistently to. By distributing safety waste bags to these people they will be able to keep the cleared dung of their livestock in the bag, instead of disposing them starkly. When herdsmen go around, one of them will be directed to dispose dung of cattle in the safety waste bags given to them; even at their locations, after sweeping they will be advised to place the dung in waste bags and also they will be taught how to tie them when filled to capacity. They are expected to dispose these bags which will be carried by garbage carter to landfills within the State. Education and Strict laws will also be made to ensure that they comply with this for small, medium and large scale livestock watchovers. Accessibility to extremely cheap and almost free disposal will ensure maximum cooperation with the Government. This will help save the amount of methane that will be released carelessly to the environment. Waste managers will incinerate them in incinerators or mange them in other ways available, e.g. biogas; to minimize gas release. Safe landfills will also ensure the gases do not decompose externally and get released to the environment. There are many safety systems integrated into modern landfill systems to minimize impact of solid waste on the environment and human health. For state Governments who have it in their plans to build new landfills, they can integrate safety systems such as liners, covers, gas and liquid extraction and monitoring wells to detect contamination. Some states may not have this in their plans; the Federal Government through the Ministry of Environment will send maintenance procedures to those managing existing ones to ensure maximum safety. Biodegradable wastes also contribute methane gas to the environment so maintaining the landfills will help guard against this and groundwater contamination. These writings suggests to the Federal Ministry of Environment about capping emissions in our own way, state ministries of environment may also adopt some of the methods solely. Stephen is a theoretical scientist writing from Surulere, Lagos.

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OMOTAYO, J. A.    Lagos, NIGERIA    March 04, 2011
Good of you, Mr. David. Who knows who is right anyway? The environmental scientists may be right or wrong, and we can only gallop and sail with them until the end justifies who is right.

But rather than work on how to repair the damaged ozone layer, can we work from your theory that tree planting and grassing can mitigate the tide against global warming and climate change? If yes, let us re-direct our efforts towards application of this approach to stop or reduce desert encroachment that has gone far into the northern part of Nigeria. The CO2 and heat required for the green plant to photosynthesise are all there in this region. What is absent is the green plant. So let us plant there. If we are successful in this area, I think that we can go further up there to seal the ozone layer.

Once again, I commend you for your effort.

God bless Nigeria.
David Stephen    Surulere,, Nigeria    March 04, 2011
RE: Thanks for your remark, climate modelling and simulations suggests there is change in the world climate seen in measurements obtained overtime; this according to studies maybe due to increase in anthropogenic activities against natural effects that has always been. I really don't want to get involved in this controversy which sometimes get heated, I rather proffer possible solutions to mitigate the effects; what remain obvious is change in weather conditions around the globe.

I have another research paper on 'Artificial Recovery Of The Ozone Hole' which suggests artificial method of recovery over longterm natural recovery, this too is a solution presented without an eye on controversy.
OMOTAYO, J. A.    Lagos, NIGERIA    March 02, 2011
Well done Mr. David. It was a good write-up for those who believe in the Global Warming Theory. The realities across Europe in the last two years have suggested that environmental scientists all over the world may have gambled. The ice sheet cover over roads and buildings in Europe, Britain, Russia, France, etc in December 2008, December 2009 and Deccember 2010 have all been high, suggesting a return to cold weather. Many of the elderly died after attemping fo walk or work through their gardens.

At a time, there was a warning in Britain that people should watch out for the elderly who might want to stroll out of their homes. In fact, when Russia turned off gas supply into major parts of Europe in December 2008 / January 2009, many resulted into the use of old technology - the firewood. If Global Warming is realy true, why the sudden change into extreme freezing temperatures over there?

Man still undertands very little about the world at the moment. But we pride ourselves as knowing too much of it. There has been wide bush fire in Russia, a cold region, even when the average temperature of the zone affected was just about 30 deg C. Yet in Nigeria, our average temperature hovers over that and we have not had so many wide bush fires as in Russia. America too has suffered similar fate to that of Russia under the same condition. Same with Italy, and many more.

When the Camerounian mountain released its embedded carbon dioxide (CO2) gas sometimes ago, many lives were lost in the adjouning villages. The theory then was that CO2 was heavier than ordinary air, so it went down the mountain to destroy lives. Today, we have been told that the greenhouse gas (i.e. CO2) stays in the air even up to 10km above the surface of the earth. But nobody has told us what transported this gas so high up. This could not have come from domestic activities.

The point here is that buautification of cities is easthetically pleasant. Beyond that, human beings deserve to live. The way and manner that some executive governors and the former FCT Ministers have carried out this beautification exercise only point to political ignorance on their parts. The beauty of a city that is not rested in human capital development is bound to lose its flavour with time. Rather than devote so much time thinking of flowers and trees, we must have time to think of the living poor, the underpriviledged, the children and the aged.

God bless Nigeria.
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