• Why the ‘October 15th horn free day’ in Lagos may not be memorable

    Posted on: October 15th, 2014 by admin No Comments

     

    lagos horn free day

    According to several news reports and publicity efforts of the Lagos state ministry of information and strategy, today, October 15th has been set aside as ‘horn free day’. An effort aimed at sensitizing Lagosians on the need to reduce noise pollution from blaring of vehicle horns, as well as improving lane discipline (while driving) and fundamentally, drawing motorists’ attention to the importance of road discipline and mutual respect for other road users.

    This is a highly welcome move to address an apparent issue Lagos faces owing to its high population of over 20million people and its reoccurring vehicular congestion along major roads across the city. But from a more holistic stand-point, this is an untidy effort to address just one of the few issues that has resulted from the root cause of noise pollution, which is a fusion of several societal problems and the failure of a few existing institutions and regulatory systems.

    The irony of noise pollution in Lagos: Have you sat down at the last row of the popular ‘Danfo’ bus in motion? If you have, you will agree with me that blaring horns is hardly the crux of the matter when it comes to noise pollution by vehicles. Industrial and domestic generators are also more profound sources of noise pollution than vehicles. But how can we truly ascertain this when our regulatory bodies do little in actively and accurately capturing environmental pollution (by vehicles) data in Nigeria? Where there is no clear and fool-proof mechanism to capture key vehicle use data it seems very much misplaced to try spearheading a campaign to curb noise just from vehicle horns, when in reality more noise is generated from dozens of poorly maintained vehicle engines that contribute to air and noise pollution in Lagos.

    Also, If only adequate measures are taken to monitor and control the kind of drivers that find their way unto Nigerian roads, maybe horn blaring would not have been too much of an issue in the first instance. This further elevates the need for the driver licensure system to be re-addressed and improved on.

    Emissions (owing to burning fossil fuels) and solid waste mismanagement are the real threats not noise: as poor waste management (especially having clogged drainage paths) affects the quality and life span of roads. When you have horrendous traffic conditions owing to light showers earlier in the day, it’s only natural and very humanly to let some steam off by exerting the remaining energy in you on your steering wheel at the slightest provocation- hence, why road rage in Lagos is quite a normal occurrence. Not to mention the current wave of floods in Asia and Europe which shows how badly hit economies can be if averting flood isn’t made a priority.

    What the Lagos state government should however be commended for is spearheading an annual initiative, which amongst other things has gotten writers like myself to research and make meaningful suggestions based on the reality in Lagos and what the masses rightly expect of the government. Based on the challenges the state government clearly faces in managing the various forms of pollution owing to vehicle use, rather than spending resources on the campaign for reduction of noise pollution from vehicle horns ,other campaigns worth considering that will have far-reaching effects are:

    -Clear your car error codes/check engine notification day

    -Vehicle emission control day

    -Don’t Lither Lagos roads campaign day

    Basically, we should be a lot more creative in seeking lasting solutions and supporting campaigns of these kind with the necessary legislations and feasible plans with profound private sector participation. A remarkable example of this is the successfully implemented and fairly sustained BRT bus system in Lagos which clearly in several ways has reduced the number of vehicles on Lagos roads; hence the pollution (noise and air) levels from vehicles collectively.

    On a final note, I am not trying to stamp the impression that noise pollution isn’t an issue that needs to be addressed; rather the glaring point made here is that government really should participate in campaigns aimed at addressing what affects the larger chunk of the masses the most; such that can truly make a change. Also in question here are the mechanisms for coming up with public campaigns of these kind and why government should desist from shallow efforts all to make Lagos Metropolis seem more like a global and modern city.

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