A few weeks ago, #Gamezero trended across social media and was a significant talking point in Game Week 5 of the ongoing English Premier League. The football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea FC was the world’s inaugural net-zero carbon football game aimed at raising awareness of the destructive impacts of climate change on the environment. Fans were encouraged not to drive to the stadium among the many initiatives that underscored the awareness campaign supported by the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26). This is one of many significant efforts made by individuals, organizations, and the government to rid the atmosphere of emissions.
What does Net Zero Emissions mean?
Net zero emission is an anticipated balance between the number of greenhouse gasses produced and the quantity removed from the atmosphere.
It is a commitment to decarbonize the atmosphere, make it healthier, and tackle climate change, which has been a significant subject of concern in recent years.
Nigeria’s Auto Industry and the possibility of Net Zero Emissions
Despite the worldwide concern, there seems to be little or no mindful action to curb this impending danger in Nigeria.
In Nigeria, the auto industry is the largest source of carbon emissions, with a bulk of these unhealthy pollutants concentrated in urban areas and major cities like Port Harcourt, Calabar, Lagos, and Abuja.
Since the early 20th century, when automobiles were first introduced to Nigerian roads, the use of these transportation machines has exponentially progressed, with over 11 million cars currently registered in the country.
Although vital for adequate transportation, automobiles in Nigeria have significantly contributed to atmospheric pollution through emissions, primarily because of auto owners’ poor car maintenance culture.
Causes of Vehicle exhaust emissions and Engine smoking
The word ‘unhealthy’ would always be associated with automobile exhaust emissions and engine smoking. These two are a threat to the environment and clearly indicate an unhealthy engine. Some common causes include:
- Faulty fuel injectors which lead to incomplete combustion
- Worn out pistons, piston rings
- Sticking valves
- Faulty spark plugs
- Worn ignition coils
- Bad catalytic converter
- Low fuel pressure
- Leaking head gasket
- Faulty oxygen sensor
- Defective mass airflow sensor
- A faulty throttle position sensor
- A damaged cylinder
- Faulty EGR
While these might not instantly disable a car, they gradually damage other parts of the engine and lead to the emission of unhealthy gases into the environment if left unchecked.
How to stop engine smoking and exhaust emissions
Irrespective of the cause of engine/exhaust smoking, diagnosis of the faulty part and a repair or replacement of it would mitigate the emission of more harmful gases into the atmosphere. However, routine car maintenance is advised to reduce the chances of initial damage. Some maintenance activities that would reduce engine smoking and exhaust emissions include:
Change of engine oil and oil filter
The engine oil is to cars, what blood is to animals. Some practical functions of oil include; lubricating the vehicle, minimizing friction, preventing overheating, and keeping the engine parts clean.
Old engine oil would burn in excess, leading to the emission of unhealthy gases into the environment. Hence, changing the engine oil and oil filter regularly (as recommended in the car manual) would reduce the need for constant repairs, and more importantly, the risk of global warming.
Thorough checks during every maintenance service
During every maintenance check, the air filter, spark plug, injector nozzles, leaks in the coolant system, and every other car engine unit must be thoroughly inspected, maintained, repaired, and replaced if necessary.
Net-zero emission has become a major concern for every environmental-protection-conscious individual. Pause for a minute and imagine the enormous impact its actualization would make on climate change and global warming.
Even though the automobile industry has played less than the desirable role in terms of emission, it is heartwarming to see concerted efforts by the industry at building a world full of electric vehicles and ease out fuel-propelled cars. As we eagerly look forward to net-zero emissions, a viable and practical approach would be routine repair and maintenance of automobiles by expert technicians to reduce emissions to the barest minimum.