The health science students of Government Secondary School (GSS), Apo Resettlement, on Saturday, took to the streets of Abuja, to sensitise residents on the dangers of indoor pollution to their health.

The students displayed banners with inscriptions such as; “Do you know Pollution triggers Lungs and Breast Cancer, diseases and stroke?, “Who is at risk? Mothers and Children”, and other messages on dangers of indoor pollution.

They embarked on the sensitisation walk from the Fish Market in Apo Resettlement, to Kabusa Junction, Wumba, Sunny Vale Estate, and to Zone 7, all in Abuja.

The students sensitised residents about the effects of pollution, including fumigation, and also educated them on the strategies to employ in curbing pollution.

Mrs Tamunosiki Onatoyinbo, the Health Science Teacher of SS 2 of the school, said over the years, so much emphasis had been laid on outdoor pollution.

“But this time, we decided to focus on in-door pollution. According to statistics, 3.8 million women and children die of indoor pollution; either from smoky appliance or pesticide/insecticide, they use to cook or kill mosquitos.

“Some people, after spreading the insecticide in their rooms, still go back inside and sleep, and this has triggered lung cancer and even death.

“So, we thought about the children in the class, and have decided to come out and educate Abuja residents on lung cancer, and other related issues from indoor pollution.

“Sometime in October 2023, we talked about lifestyles that could cause prostate cancer and lead to bowel cancer; and we also encouraged people to get HPV vaccination.

“But today, we are talking about indoor pollution, identifying those things that could trigger cancer, such as living in homes with old harvesters, which can cause lung cancer.

“The essence of the sensitisation walk is to help people identify items in their homes that can trigger cancer, stroke or cardiovascular issues. A lot of them were excited about what they learnt,” Onatoyinbo said.

According to the health science teacher, those that get the messages will go back to their houses and change the way they use to do things that could endanger their health.

She said in spite of the challenges of funding and sponsorship, the school authority, other teachers and the science students, were determined to make the walk a reality.

“And we did it. We have yet other sensitisation programmes coming up on Jan. 31 and Feb. 13, when we will talk about other topics that affect human health.

“We hope people will look for us at GSS Apo Resettlement and support this movement,” she said.

Mrs Rita Nnaji, the Chief Environmental Health Officer of National Environmental Standards Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), commended GSS Apo Resettlement, Onatoyinbo and the students.

According to Nnaji, a lot of women who cook with stove, charcoal and firewood are suffering from indoor pollution because they usually inhale the smoke during cooking and burning of firewood.

“If you want to use insecticide, one needs to be fully kitted and nobody should be in the room or house. And after coming back, you need to open the vent and mop the floor.

“Indiscriminate waste disposal, burning of plastic and open defecation are other serious environmental issues.

“The world is gradually banning the use of single plastic now. Some states don’t allow use of sachet water, like Cross River, and the state is clean..

“Burning of plastics and indoor pollution does not only cause cancer, it also affects asthmatic patients Even when cigarettes are advertised, at the end, they warn that, smokers are liable to die,” Nnaji said.

She encouraged the students to be focused, and never to compare themselves with others in terms of materialism, adding that; “some people live fake lives to deceive other honest people”.

She also tasked them to encourage their parents and community to minimise indoor pollution, open defecation and indiscriminate disposal of waster, in order to curb diseases and guaranty better health conditions of the society.

The students on their part, expressed satisfaction and optimism that the sensitisation would go a long way in the reorientation of residents on indoor pollution. (NAN)

By Editor

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