Cancer is the second cause of death and one-in-six deaths globally is linked to the disease.

It is said to be prevalent in low- and middle-income countries and majority of these countries are found in Africa.

Nigeria happens to be the most populous in Africa and falls in the category of low-income countries with a minimum wage of 30,000 Naira that is in the offing.

In Nigeria, Lagos State, the Centre of Excellence, prides itself with the number of persons it houses, towering above all states in population, with Kano State only in contention.

The increase in population that the state has consistently witnessed has become a burden on the infrastructure in the state, forcing the outgoing governor of the State, Akinwunmi Ambode, to approve the construction of some new bridges and roads.

Decongesting the roads had becoming important, as man-hours were lost to traffic congestion daily, but by the corner is another issue of health hazard that has not been attended to. 

On February 4, the World marked the World Cancer Day and the commemoration has once again stressed the need for residents of some Nigerian cities to be more concerned about their environment, food and lifestyle.

There is poverty in Nigeria, and everyone knows the nation has taken the lead in ranking of nations with the highest number of its population living below poverty line.

Lagos offers many the opportunity to hustle and earn money to alleviate poverty, especially from their families.

In Agege and other areas of Lagos State are a set of people regularly exposed to air pollution in the course of this quest to make money - they are in Keke (auto rickshaw), on Okada or either hawking by the roadside. 

The traffic congestion had increased in some areas as a result of road and bridge constructions, which has resulted in the blocking off of some routes.

Lagos residents, smoke and cancer

In Agege area for instance, bad roads and the derailment of a train that has resulted in the closure of a road that links Ikeja and Mangoro area of the state are taking a toll on the people. Daily traffic has become the order of the day. 

Contributing to the delicate situation are heavy duty vehicles that use the road.

Most of these vehicles are diesel engine vehicles and they emit black thick fumes that are often inhaled by the hawkers, passers-by and Keke users.

How Harmful Is This Diesel Fumes? 

A publication by Health and Safety Executive in the UK says the Diesel engine exhaust emissions (commonly known as ‘diesel fumes’) are a mixture of gases, vapours, liquid aerosols and substances made up of particles. They contain the products of combustion including: carbon (soot); nitrogen; water; carbon monoxide; aldehydes; oxides of nitrogen; oxides of sulphur; polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

According to the report, breathing in diesel fumes can affect your health, and exposure to the fumes can cause irritation of your eyes or respiratory tract.

“These effects are generally short-term and should disappear when you are away from the source of exposure.

“However, prolonged exposure to diesel fumes, in particular to any blue or black smoke, could lead to coughing, chestiness and breathlessness.

“There is some evidence that repeated exposure to diesel fumes over a period of about 20 years may increase the risk of lung cancer.

"Exposure to petrol engine exhaust emissions does not have the same risk,” the report read.

Also Read: 8 Key Facts About Cancer You Should Know

In Lagos State, there is a law that had been established to guard against excessive smoke emission from vehicles, with a 20,000 Naira fine for first time offenders and 30,000 Naira for subsequent offenders, but with the presence of vehicles producing black smokes in most part of the state, it is obvious that the implementation of the law had not been upheld.

Ways to reduce risk of cancer recommended by WHO

Residents have been left to their fate, as these black-smoke vehicles are becoming a common sight.

Since this smoke could cause lungs cancer, it is necessary that the government should implement the law and save residents of imminent danger.

The World Health Organization (WHO) had recommended that people should increase intake of fruits to give the body nutrients that will help it ward-off cancer.

There is also need for people who are exposed to fumes to wear face mask or stay away from the smoke. 

Regular exercise is something that very few residents of Lagos State can boast of and WHO also recommends this.

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