Lagos and the danger of environmental degradation

Sir: Aside terrorism, one main issue facing the world today is environmental degradation. The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction characterizes environmental degradation as the lessening of the limit of the earth to meet social and environmental destinations and needs. They are those activities that render the environment unhealthy and unsustainable over time. At the point when the environment is wrecked or common assets are exhausted, the environment is considered to be corrupted and harmed. Environmental degradation takes diverse forms, ranging from pollution and destruction of ecosystems to degraded fresh water supplies and arable land.

Globally, the size of the human population has grown exponentially and with population boom, we require more land, more water and more of everything. Forests have almost disappeared because we needed to clear them to plant more crops, to give animals a place to graze and to supply us with wood and other raw materials. The advancement of technology and industry has worsened the condition. Vehicle emissions, toxic waste, carbon emissions – all emit toxins into our atmosphere, causing air pollution. These are all by-products of our inventions and ingenuity. This is what is causing Global Warming.

There are many effects of environmental degradation, which the world is contending with today. First and foremost is the impact on human health. Areas exposed to toxic air pollutants can cause respiratory problems like pneumonia and asthma. Millions of people are known to have died due to indirect effects of air pollution.

The other is loss of Biodiversity, which is important for maintaining balance of the ecosystem in the form of combating pollution, restoring nutrients, protecting water sources, and stabilizing climate. Deforestation, global warming, over population and pollution are few of the major causes for loss of biodiversity.

Ozone Layer Depletion is also another side effect of environmental degradation. Ozone layer is responsible for protecting earth from harmful ultraviolet rays. The presence of chlorofluorocarbons, hydro chlorofluorocarbons in the atmosphere is causing the ozone layer to deplete. As it depletes, it emits harmful radiations back to the earth.

The tourism industry equally suffers from environmental degradation as deterioration of environment can be a huge setback for tourism industry that relies on tourists for their daily livelihood. Environmental damage in the form of loss of green cover, loss of biodiversity, huge landfills, increased air and water pollution can be a big turn-off for most tourists.

As the commercial and industrial hub of Nigeria and, indeed, West Africa, Lagos naturally runs the risk of environmental hazard. Despite efforts being put in place to sensitise residents on the need to protect the environment, some still prefer to continue to live in the past as they still get involved in actions capable of frustrating government’s investment in the sector.

It is with a view to bringing up a more dynamic and holistic approach to environmental protection that the Lagos State has come up with a new intervention it terms the Cleaner Lagos Initiate (CLI). The initiative, which has been backed up by law is to address some of the challenges of human default. The CLI is a strategic government policy and programme aimed at revitalizing the entire Solid Waste Management sector to have far reaching benefits and multiplier effects for the state and the country at large. Through this, direct 40,000 new dignified job will be created and civic pride and creation of sense of belonging, ownership and patriotism in resident will also be created.

This effort is driven to protect the environment, human health and social living standards of Lagos residents and re-focused the scope of LAWMA. As individuals, there are many things that we can do to save our planet, our environment and, indeed, ourselves. We must understand and let others also appreciate that the survival of future generation depends on how we treat the environment. So, for Lagos residents, this is the time to join hands with government in a renewed commitment to preserving the environment.

Yemisi Durosinmi works for the Lagos State Government

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Environmental degradation


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