Sometime in May I came across a post on the “Breathe Life Campaign” that caught my interest. The Breathe Life Campaign was a campaign focused on the use of public transportation or bicycles to reduce the emissions from a number of vehicles on the road. I had recently moved

and was working on getting my driver’s licence, so this coincided with a time I needed to get around a lot. So I thought, “why not be socially& environmentally responsible and take public transportation? This might give you a good way of listening to people and meeting different kinds of them.”

I did indeed get all of these things in addition to these other experiences:

Public transportation (along) in Abuja is a pretty cheaper option, that comes at a cost –comfort. Squeezing four people in a backseat designed for three (neglecting the size of each person) is not my idea of comfort. Unless you get the front seat.

The only challenge for this kind of campaign in a place like Nigeria is the lack of vehicle emission testing.

Vehicle emission testing is the process where vehicles are checked for a standard level of exhaust emissions, in order to ensure quality of air and healthy lives for people.

I get teary eyed whenever I pass by a diesel generator vomiting dark fumes that could be mistaken for smoke coming from a burning building; when I drive by vehicles (that should not be on the road for any reason) emitting dirty exhaust fumes. It tires and worries me. It’s like being a second hand smoker who suffers the consequences of a life they did not choose.

It’s easy to push for a breathe for life campaign but what happens when taking public transportation actually exposes you to less clean air albeit reducing the number of vehicles on the road?