LEADING ISSUES IN GENERAL STUDIES: HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCES

prettyingmelonManagement

Nov 9, 2013 (3 years and 7 months ago)

49 views

LEADING ISSUES IN GENERAL STUDIES:
HUMANITIES
AND SOCIAL SCIENCES

EDITOR:

Director

General Studies Division

The General Studies Division,
University of Ilorin,
Ilorin.











ENVIRONMENTAL ABUSE AND
M
ANAGEMENT
TECHNIQUES IN NIGERIA

H. I. Jimoh

Departmen
t of Geography. University of Ilorin. llorin.

INTRODUCTION

The term "Environment" is better appreciated as perceived. Thus, the term
environment
is defiled of a universally acknowledged method of description or
definition. For instance,
environment has" be
en conceived as a system within which living organisms interact with the
physical elements (Sada, 1988). This means that,
environment can be conceived as the
conditions, circumstances and influences
surrounding and affecting the development of an
organism
or group of organisms (Strahler and Strahler, 1977). In addition, environment is
made up of a number of
spheres, which include the hydrosphere, atmosphere, lithosphere
and biosphere.
Within these spheres are a number of interrelated activities in operation
.

Consequently, environment is perceived in this chapter as the general surroundings where a
number of interrelated activities are taking place within the environmental system and
between man and the environment too. From the perspective of physical
and cu
ltural
landscapes, the physical or natural environment indicates that the
environment is in its
natural state. The features of the physical environment include
rivers and water bodies,
trees, hills/mountains, mineral resources such as iron
-
ore,
gold, manga
nese, diamond,
silver, columbite and petroleum among others. The cultural landscape on the other hand
denotes that an interaction has taken place
between man and his environment. Such
activities that are human based include
agriculture, mining operations,
sinking of bore holes,
wells, tree felling, constructions
of bridges, houses, road networks and railways among
others. (Robinson, 1976).

Thus, every organism sees the environment as a resource store where he can
conveniently fall back to, for all his needs

(Faniran and Ojo, 1980). However, efforts
made by
man to harness these environmental
-
based resources have translated into a
number of
environmental abuses. These abuses arose out of man's ignorance in
relating with the
environment and disregarding its wel
fare. These developments
therefore constitute the
focus of this chapter. However, the next section of this chapter considers the forms of
relationship between man and the environment.

THE MODES OF MAN
-

ENVIRONMENTAL RELATIONSHIPS

Man's relationship with i
ts environment has always changed with time, depending on
his
understanding and knowledge of the physical environment. However, the natural
environment is generally endowed with variable quantity and quality of resources


216





w
ithin the space (Simmons,

1981). Thus, man has come to regard his environment as
a
depot housing his needs and therefore always devising ways of abstracting these
-
esources
within it. The modes of the relationships have been discussed in three
phases below
(Jimoh, 1999). These pha
ses include the Paleolithic, Neolithic and the
Modern ages.

a)

Paleolithic era:

This period marked the era of environmental determinism, where the environment
essentially
decides to provide for man. In essence, man depended on what the
environment provides
.
This development was due to the low level of man's
technological development. Thus, the
degree of man's impact or the abuse inflicted on
the environment was minimal.

b)

Neolithic era:

This period is the Iron Age when equipment were fabricated witn and
:
n

metais. This
was due
to some remarkable improvements in man's technological development.
Thus, there was a
marked interaction between man and his environment. Also, man tended to develop some
options of needs outside what the environment offers and
procee
ded to develop ways of
accomplishing such set objectives.

c)

Modern age:

This is the jet age where man decides what to do within and outside his environmental
setting.
Indeed, this period epitomized a number of abuses inflicted op the
environment, many of
which are put in place inadvertently.

ENVIRONMENTAL ABUSES

This is the deliberate effort to put environment into optimal use without the slightest
consideration for the stress introduced onto the environmental system. For example,
soil
tilling for agricult
ural purposes, mining activities, inadequate waste disposal,
noise
generation, pollution among others greatly abuse the environment in all their ramifications.
However, a number of environmental problems ensue due to the abuses
meted to the
environment in
the course of interactions. Usually this scenario emanates
from lack of sufficient
education on how to relate with the environment (see Jimoh
and Ajibade, 1995). The long
-
standing relationships existing between man and the
environment had been one of explo
iting
the environmental resources to meet man's
needs. The implications of this drive manifested in
the various types of stress inflicted on the environment usually due to the following:

1. Mineral exploitations leading to environmental degradations:

This

type of activity largely destroys the beauty of the environment. For example, in
the tin
mining areas in Jos Plateau, Nigeria, the mining sites are covered with pits that
carries large
pools of water which in turn serves as breeding points for mosquitoes.

In

217







addition, the mining activities have led to the disappearance of a number of habitats
and
the emergence of bad land topography. Also, the problems created on sites due to
petroleum exploitation are no less severe especially in the Eastern axi
s (Table I).

2. Constructional activities

This activity covers events such as houses, road networks, rail .lines, bridges, canals,
aqueducts among others which are capable of completely denying surfaces of
adequate plant covers. The effects of this type
of scenario are many and hazardous.
For
example, Cooke and Doornkamp (1974). Oyegun (1980, 1983), Jimoh, (1997,
1998)
observed that land surfaces without protective covers (plants) are liable to the incidence of
severe soil erosion problems. Thus, the cons
tructional activities have not only created the
problems of soil erosion but also, it greatly disturbs the ecosystems.

Table 1. Environmental impacts of fossil energy resources


S/N

Mining
Activities

General Effects

Specific impacts

1.

Exploration

Landsca
pe disturbance

Aesthetic deterioration of landscape,
path
construction and trampling in
wilderness.

2.

Mineral extraction

Land degradation and
ecosystem destabilization

Land surface devastation (including
erosion), land subsidence, disruption o!
drainage
systems, deforestation.
excessKe
water draw down and lowering
and
contamination of the water table.

3.

Processing.
Transportation,
storage and
consumption

Gas leaks, oil spills, noise,
and pollution of the air. soil
and water.

Thermal body of w
ater ways, increase in
Co2 and Co. ozone layer depletion.
acidification of air. soil and water.
weather modifications, toxicity hazard to
plants and consumers, death of terrestria
and marine life, loss of crops and
l i
\
c
st ocks. i mpai r ment of at mospher i c
vi
sibility, vehicular accidents, damage tc
buildings and machinery. nervous
disorder, respiratory diseases, cardio
-
vascular illness, cancer and foo;
poisoning.

Source:NEST(199l).

3. The attitudes on drainage management

Drainage systems in this case refer t
o the gutters and the waterways. It is common to
see drainage systems in Nigeria littered with wastes of all types and categories These
wastes often lead to their blockages (Table 2).

218






Table 2. Types composition and sources of wastes


S/N

Types of
wastes

Composition

_
....._

. ._ . _



................................


Source(s)

!.

Garage

Food leftovers, food preparation
wastes, management wastes
and
the
sale of wares.

Households
(kitchen), restaurants.
stores and
markets

•)

Rubbish

Combustible p
apers, carbon,
unused
papers, wood. rags. etc.

Office, households, market

3.

Ashes

Residues from tire used for
cooking, i.e. firewood.

Kitchens, markets

4.

Street trash

Leaf litters, corncobs, fruit peels,
etc.

Restaurants.
stores,
passersb
s , food
vendors

5.

Abandoned vehicles
and
containers

Unwanted cans, motor cycles and
bicycle parts, wood. logs. etc.

Roadside
mechanics, lumbering
activities.

Source: Akinjide (1998).

As a matter of fact, wastes are the principal agents that

lead to gutter
blockages and this is a common occurrence in most Nigerian cities.
Also, wastes not only litter the environment but also equally threaten the
human health and accelerate
the degradation of the nutrient status of soil
resource.

4.

Attending
to the call of nature (ethics)

The call of nature to which every man or human being responds to include
faeces
(bowel decongestion or toiletting), spitting of saliva either due to
bad odour
perceived or coughing and urinating. Responses to iiiese calls
hav
e usually been
done with d if regard to their ef
F
:rt;; •:••
-
.
<:•••
-
•••*;
beings ;•:,
-
<•

Ji as
i';
-
j

environment,
The inappropriate manner in which many respond
to these calls of nature greatly abuses the environment and most often
constitute heaith hazar
ds.

5.

Waste disposal

Olorunfemi and Odita, (1998) observed that rapid population growth
coupled with
inefficient waste disposal methods and aggravated by
inconsistent waste
management policies greatly abuse the status of
the environment. Indeed.
accompany
ing this type of incident are
environmentai deterioration, health hazard
problems, disappearance of
environmental beauties, flood incidents especially
when wastes arc
deposited into water ways, surface and sub
-
surface water
pollution, air
pollution among o
thers.

219


6.

The incidents of aoise pollution.

The ability of man to reorganize space to taste has led to the emergence of areas known
for noise generations. For example, Egunjobi (1988), has observed that
market places,
motor parks, airports, trains, tr
affic, power generating plants,
.grinding machines, record
players/radios, religious centres, food blenders and
machine guns among others, are noise
generating sources.

In these places, noise productions offend man and greatly abuse the expected
solitude i
n
an environment. In this view, except when it is most unavoidable, most
people prefer to keep
away from these areas. This is because, at these points, there
is the possibility of going
deaf (temporarily or permanently). This scenario is most certain when
the tolerable threshold
of noise is exceeded. For example, Uchegbu (1998) has observed that noise emanating
from trains is ranked as uncomfortable;
food blenders, machine guns at close range and
heavy traffic are loud and
disturbing, while the noise from j
et pbne at take
-
off is painful to
the body system.

7.

Agricultural practices

This activity involves massive forest clearance leading to total exposure of land use types
that are in various proportions, especially in Nigeria (Table 3). For
example, FAO (198
3)
observed that in Nigeria, careless exploitation and
husbandry has destroyed about
600,000 hectares of forest yearly while the
reforestation effort of about 25,000 hectares
replenishes only 4% of the loss. This fast declining states of forest resource in

Nigeria
constitute great threats to soil
fertility, desertification incidents, agricultural productivity
and in fact, to the
quality of life in general (Okafor, 1988).

Table 3. Percentage distribution of land use types in Nigeria


Land use types

Percentag
e occupied

Open grassland

18.56

Wood grassland

26.
13

Woodland

4.61

Forest

4.34

Swamp forest

3.18

Good farmland

23.00

Marginal farmland

18.72

Plantation (timber, rubber, oil palm)

0.32

Water and Urban areas

1.13



Total

100.00

Source: Federal D
epartment of Forestry (1980). as cited in Okafor (1988).

220



In general, the environmental abuses discussed usually results into severe problems.
There is
the need for a more rigorous technique of managing environmental abuse.
Indeed, this is not
negotia
ble. The next section of this chapter will focus on managing
environmental abuse.

TECHNIQUES OF MANAGING ENVIRONMENTAL ABUSES

Environmental abuses are many and varied in effects and dimensions. Thus, each
environmental abuse requires a unique technique of
management. However, a general
framework for managing environmental abuses of all categories can be tied to the
following
arguments as follows.

Environmental education efforts:
Jimoh and Ajibade (1995) have observed that

every environmental related problem

can be traced to lack of clear understanding

of the nature of environment, its composition, likely environmental stress and the

effects of environmental problems on the environment vis
-
a
-
vis living organisms.

In essence, the need to introduce environ
mental education in our school's

curriculum is strongly advocated as a panacea to solving environmental abuses.

Development of awareness:
The existence of environmental abuses in the recent

times constitutes topical issues among the elitist class in th
e human environment.

For example, it was in the hope of restoring the environmental quality that gave

birth to Federal Environmental Protection Agency in Nigeria (Decree 58. 1988).

This development can be made more popular and thus warranting

public

sympathy through public enlightenment campaigns, lectures, distribution of

relevant pamphlets, posters, seminars, workshops and media houses.

Citing of waste dumps:
Waste dumps are usually in the form of incinerators or

simple dump sit
es. The belief is that, when these are strategically located in places

within the urban environment, wastes so generated by both households and

individual or groups can be put together and deposited at the waste dump sites.

However, these waste dump sites

should be made functional by regularly clearing

the wastes from the dump sites without which the dump sites may translate into

health problem /ones.

Legal
policy frame
works:
In Nigeria. Government has made efforts to address

this abuse through Decree 58
of 1988. This Decree established FEPA and charged

it with the responsibility of protecting and developing the environment, by

establishing environmental standards. Also, there are the mobile courts that

operate on en
\
ironmental sanitation days. Culp
rits are
-
instantly sentenced or

punished.

Furthermore, during the Buhari
-
Idiagbon military administration in Nigeria (1984
-

1985).
there
\
\
as the introduction of 'War Against Indiscipline ' (WAI). This




221






was developed to checkmate the indiscriminate manner in which the citizenrv was
abusing
Ihe environmental in all forms. The WAI eventually manifested into War
Against Filth. This
phase of WAI greatly meted punishments to vfctims of all
forms

of environmental abuse
in Nigeria.

General!}
1
, a better result may be achieved when some of the measures are combined
to
address the various abuses on the environment. This is like!} to be so. if the
'^ensures are
strong, purposive and action generating (
See FEPA. '90j).

CONCLUSION

Man's environment is a depot capable of meeting all our
IKCUS
.

In an effort to exploit Hiese
environmental resources to advantage, a number of abuses thus ensue. The consequences
of'these arc several and ha/ardous on boih
(lie

e
nvironment an"' m;<
!
'
Thus, managing these
abuses becomes inevitable especiallv as such steps easiK result
in the restoration of the
environmental quality and the sustenance of the future of the present and the vet unborn
generation in Nigeria.

REFERENCES

Akinjide. O. (1988).
Current Issues in Nigerian environment.
Ibadan. Davidson
Press.

Cooke. R. U. and Doornkamp. .1. C. (1974).
Geomorphology in Environmental

Management. An Introduction.
.Oxford. Oxford Universitv Press, pp. 22
-
44.

Egunjobi. L. (1988). Ur
ban environmental noise pollution Sada P, O. and Odemerho.
F. O.
(eels.) hi:
Environmental Issues and Management in Nigerian
Development.
Fvans Brothers Nig. Publishers Ltd. Nigeria. Pp. 88
-
96.

Faniran. A. and Ojo. O. (1981).
Man
'.v
Physical

Environment. An Intermediate

Physical Geography,
lleinemann Educational Books Ltd.. London, 404 pp.

FAO. (1983).
Forest Destruction and Agriculture in Nigeria.
Rome. Forestry
Research institute
of Nigeria. .Annual Report.

FEPA. (1991).
The making of the N
igerian Environmental Policy.
FFPA Monograph 1.

Jimoh. IT L and Ajibade. L. T. (1995). Environmental Education on soil erosion
problems in
Nigeria
-

An Overvieu. ./,
Education.
16:39
-
45.

.limoh. H. L (1997).
Individual Rainfall Events and Sediment Generati
on on
Different
Surfaces in llorin, Nigeria.
A Ph.D. thesis submitted to the
Department of Geographv.
Universitv of llorin. llorin. 220 pp.





222




Jimoh
.
I I.

I. (1998). The tolerance range of Land Us
e Surfaces to Erosion:
Implications
on Land Resource Management in llorin, Ni«eria.
Ceoreseurch
I(2):32
-
4I.

.
Jimoh

H. I. (1999). Man
-

Environment Interactions. Jiinoh H. I. and I. P. Ifabiyi
(eds.) hi:
Contemporary Issues in Environmental Studies.
Forthco
ming.

NE
ST. (1991).
Nigeria's Threatened Environment. A National Profile.
A NEST
Publication.
Nigeria, p. 35.

Olorunfeini. J. I . and Odila. C. O. (1998). Land use and solid waste generation in
llorin.
Kuara State. Nigeria.
The Environmentalist
18:67
-
75.

O
kafor.
\
:
. O.
(1988). Rural Development and the Environment. Sada P. O. and
Odemerho. I .
O. (eds.) hi:
Environmental Issues and Management in
Nigerian Development.
Evans
Brothers Nig. Publishers Ltd. Nigeria. Pp. 152
-
153.

Oyegun. R. O. (1980).
.'The effec
ts oj tropical rainfall on sediment yield from
different
land use surfaces in sub
-
urban Ibadan.
A Ph.D. thesis submitted to the Deparfoipt
of'Gcograpln. ! 'niversily of Ibadan. Ibadan. Nigeria. Pp.
21
-
151.

Oyegun, R. O. (1983). Erosion
-

Active surfaces on

a pediment slope.
J. Trop. Agric.
6(l):53
-
55.

Robinson. H. (1976).
Economic Geography.
Macdonald and Exans Ltd. Plymouth.
299pp.

Sada.
-
P. O. (1988). Development and the environment A contemporarx framework
for
environmental management. Sada P. O. and Odem
erho. E. O. (eds.) [n:
Environmental
Issues and Management in Sigerian Development.
Evans
Brothers Nig. Publishers
Ltd. Nigeria. Pp. 27.

Simmons. I. G. (1981).
The Ecology of Resources.
Eduard Arnold Publishers Ltd.
London,
pp.349
-
374.

Strahler. A. N. and
Strahler. A. H. (1977). Geography and Man's Environmcm John
Wiley &
Sons Lid. London.

Uchegbu. S. N. (1998). Environmental Management and Protection. Precision Printers
and
Publishers. Enugu. Nigeria, pp. 9
-
10.

223