The Nigerian city of Lagos, as well as nine other cities on the continent, has agreed to a joint signing of a declaration that recognizes the right to clean air as a human right. Also known as the C40 Clear Air Cities Declaration. The nine other cities involved in the agreement are Abidjan, Accra, Addis Ababa, Dakar, Ekurhuleni, Freetown, Johannesburg, Nairobi, and Tshwane.
The declaration was included in a statement released on Friday by the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group and included a note by the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu who recognized the right to breathe clean air as a human right and promised his government’s commitment to enforcing that right. With his and the other governments’ joint declarations over 59 million people across the African cities will benefit from this decision according to reports. The improved health and cleaner air the move would bring have been estimated to prevent as many as 10,000 deaths that would normally be attributed to polluted air.
Still speaking, Governor Sanwo-Olu stated that the need for clean air was far more important than the license needed for the operations that led to its pollution. He expected the move to put a stop to the over 300,000 hospitalizations and $9.4 billion lost yearly to the air crisis.
According to him, “If Lagos reduces its NO2 concentration to 10ppb (parts per billion) which is the WHO Air Quality Guideline it would prevent 2,300 asthmatic cases and incidents and save over $200 million in expenses and lost revenue per year.”