The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET) has advised Nigerians to be cautious of Particulate Matters (PMs) caused by air pollution, saying it can cause cancer.
Mrs Olaniyan Olumide, the Assistant General Manager, Central Forecast Office of NiMET, gave the advice on Friday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Anyigba, Kogi.
Olumide spoke on the sidelines of the just concluded First National Workshop on Air Quality organised by the Centre for Atmospheric Research of the National Space Research and Development Agency (CAR-NASRDA).
The theme of the workshop was: “Air Quality Research and Sustainable Development: The Nexus, Prospects and Challenges”.
According to United States Environmental Protection Agency, Particulate matter (PM), also known as particle pollution, is a complex mixture of extremely small particles and liquid droplets that get into the air.
“Once inhaled, these particles can affect the heart and lungs and cause serious health effects.’’
Olumide said: “The effect of air pollution, particularly dust haze on the health of people is very dangerous; people with respiratory tract infection are more prone to effects of dust haze.
“This is because of the PMs that they breathe in. In fact, PMs that are lower than 0.5 meters enter into the blood stream and do lots of havoc.
“It can cause cancer, heart disease and block the artery, while Particulate Matters that are bigger can stock in the nasal way.
“Transporters should also watch their speed for dust haze, especially early in the morning, because of the visibility, particularly the aviation industry.”
According to her, dust haze has huge financial implication on the aviation industry.
She said that the agency was strengthening collaborations with research institutions on environmental issues for the exchange of data which would form the basis for air quality policy.
Olumide said that lack of data had made air quality policy redundant, thereby increasing the human activities causing air pollution.
“We are also working with the health sector to get data of people that are affected on these issues and give them more advice on what to do and how to go about it at a particular season.”
Olumide also said that governments and lawmakers needed to be aware of the dangers of not having an effective law on air quality.
She said that NiMET was at the front burner of the advocacy.