ECOWAS countries may adopt low sulphur fuel by 2020



Indications have emerged that ECOWAS countries may have started considering taking a giant stride to adopt the issues of regional harmonized low sulphur fuels by 2020.

This came to fore last week in Abuja during the last ministerial regional summit, where the UNEP Programme Management Officer, Jane Akomu dropped the hint at the Sub Regional Conference on Promoting low Sulphur in Nigeria and ECOWAS countries.

Akomu called for political leadership of the member states to adopt low sulphur fuels, with a proposal for them to coordinate the process and implement continuous air quality monitoring as well.

She expressed delight to participate in this Sub regional Low Sulphur Workshop, saying, ìthis is a follow up to the one held in May 2015 where the issue of regionally harmonized low sulphur standards was discussed.

UNEP has been partnering with countries in Africa on the adoption of cleaner fuels and vehicle standards as a means to improving air quality since 2002. You will recall the role UNEP played in the total elimination of leaded gasoline in Sub-Saharan African region in 2005.

Today, African cities are facing a rapidly growing vehicle fleet, mainly of used vehicles. This fact, coupled with high sulphur fuels is a leading cause of small particulates (impact on health) and soot (black carbon) second most important climate pollutant.î

To Akomu, ì According to a 2015 WHO report, 94 percent of the population in Nigeria is exposed to air pollution levels. You will also recall a report released by the world body in 2014 estimated that 7 million deaths annually as a result of air pollution.

She further said heavy-duty vehicles, trucks and buses are a leading cause of these two pollutants; and low sulphur fuels will contribute significantly to reducing emissions from these vehicles.

UNEP Officer, again, disclosed, ìThe World Bank also estimates that air pollution cost Nigeria about 1 percent of Gross National Income, and a 2009 World Bank/ARA study on the Sub-Saharan Africa region, estimated the cost of vehicle emissions at $43billion per year.

This calls for cost effective measures to reduce vehicle emissions through a combination of cleaner fuels and vehicle emission control technologies.

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