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When the Pigeons refuse to fly; The embarrassing implication of air pollution

Written by on February 2, 2021

In the wake of the Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration in memory of heroes who died in the cause of service to the nation, the social media space buzzed with embarrassing videos of the symbolic pigeon release as the birds refused to fly. Africa and its people have quite a robust belief in omens as symbolic events like stumbling on your way to a visit or perhaps encountering cobwebs at dawn could implicate the signs of impending devastation and doom. Diverse opinions have risen in justification of the very embarrassing scene. There are environmental factors that could impede the pigeons from taking to the skies during the symbolic event. Human activities as it relates to urbanization and industrialization have been of topmost concern as identifiable causes of environmental pollution across the globe. Countries across the world daily face grievous implications of environmental pollution, but developed nations with stricter laws and guiding policies have been able to manage the situation a bit more reasonably due to increased awareness as compared to developing countries.

Pollution is a pressing global problem facing humanity and it is largely responsible for deteriorating health conditions and poor quality of life linked to environmental causes. It is therefore advised to mitigate pollution decisively to advance sustainable living for both humans and animals alike. Air pollution is the presence of substances like Carbon Monoxide, Smoke, and Industrial emissions in the atmosphere that are harmful to the health of humans and other living things, or cause damage to the climate or to naturally existing ecosystems. Like humans, air pollution causes respiratory distress, increased stress levels, and behavioural changes in Birds. According to recent research by Avian Scientists-Olivia Sanderfoot and Tracey Holloway, it is discovered that birds exposed to urban air pollution suffer from gross respiratory distress as compared to birds from rural locations. Interestingly in 2013, in far-away Singapore when the smog from forest fires got to worrisome levels birds started falling from the skies. It is worth mentioning that birds respond faster to environmental changes well ahead of humans as particulate pollutants vaporized from the environment diffuse into the sky. It can therefore be inferred that birds are priceless indicators of the wholesomeness of the environment. Nigeria needs to take actionable steps at lowering pollution levels, the time to mitigate air pollution is now. In recent times there have been rising cases of indoor air pollution traceable to the use of firewood for cooking by poor families in rural and underserved communities. Researchers have found out that pregnant women in homes where clean cooking stoves are used often give birth to children with higher birthweights and experience less perinatal mortality. The benefit of pollution control is enormous as evidence has shown a massive reduction in respiratory and irritation symptoms, hospitalizations, and even all-cause mortality on reduced exposure to pollution.

Other air pollution sources are automobiles, uncontrolled emissions from fossil fuel generators, industrial exhausts from factories, and indiscriminate waste burning across unregulated waste dumpsites. Commendably, policies and draft standards have been developed to serve as a guide for regulatory agencies to appropriately protect the environment from pollution, but there are yet worrying gaps in the implementation of environmental laws and principles. Clean air and blue skies make flight attractive not just for humans but also for birds. As a nation, we can forestall a repeat of the embarrassing situation in the event of pigeon release at the recent Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration by making an increased commitment to the fight against pollution and the raging doom of climate change. May the labours of our heroes’ past never be in vain, and their sacrifices may we never take for granted. The pigeons will again take to the skies, and fly high into the clouds to convey our gratitude as a nation to our fallen heroes who paid the supreme sacrifice for the peace and territorial integrity of our beloved country- Nigeria. Amusa Temitope Victor is an Environmentalist and Social Entrepreneur, He is the CTO at WasteBazaar Ltd – A Cleantech Company that leverages mobile technology to advance sanitation in developing countries. ( He can be reached on 07010420720 or


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