Gabriel Enenche —
Affordable, healthy and safe housing options are integral to families on low-income, enabling them to have access to meaningful livelihoods and other key aspects of life that include quality health care accessibility and good education.
While looking to provide safe, decent and stable homes for families, it should be brought to mind that when talking about affordable housing, we ought to note that it should one that aims at reducing the negative impacts of climate change.
There can be improvement in access to affordable housing, while enabling families to have stable homes in communities free from environmental pollutants that threaten health safety. The most destructive of these environmental pollutants is air pollution that is the most devastating, it affects all.
Deciding on the location of our homes and surrounding environments or the ones intended for clients by developers, we should be worried of what the air there would contain and the effects it has on the human body, as breathing polluted air wrecks havoc to the body and causes early death.
While air pollution is responsible formore deaths than many other risky health hazards, polluted air creates health problems, standing as threats even to unborn babies and adults going about daily life activities. It is the origin of respiratory diseases or illnesses like asthma and other heart ailments.
Women and children including adolescents and teenagers are at most risky effects of air pollution due to their traditional roles of being mostly at home. Air pollution related deaths mostly occur in women and children. Exposure to unhealthy environments causes more harm to a developed or developing brain, it leads to cognitive and motor impairments. Later in life, it puts children at a greater risk of chronic diseases.
In furthering the discourse of the limiting effects of environmental hazards on affordable housing, lack of basic amenities like electricity forces residents to alternative means of power supply such as generators that emit harmful smokes to the air.
In a country like Nigeria where power supply is a major problem, communities are most exposed to companies that rely on power plants, factories, busy roads that are not constructed, located in or near poor suburban communities.
These are hot spots for outdoor air pollution and a lack of awareness of the risks associated with breathing polluted air is a problem too. Even when finally affected by these pollutants, accessing quality healthcare and its cost poses more problems.