Challenges facing the Nigerian environment

a picture of an area in Nigeria
a picture of an area in Nigeria

By Olumide Idowu

Nigeria has an organized system of nature preserves, game reserves, and national parks in addition to a forest management system, but most management is carried on at the state level. Law enforcement and protected system infrastructure are lacking, and abuses of protected land are common.

Desertification is a major problem in Nigeria, made worse by massive water impoundment and irrigation schemes. Uncontrolled grazing and livestock migration put tremendous pressure on the environment in some areas.

Our environment is constantly changing. There is no denying that. However, as our environment changes, so does the need to become increasingly aware of the problems that surround it. Like too many fruit flies in a bottle, there are now so many humans on this finite planet that we are changing our environment to be less favourable for a comfortable and enduring future.

With a massive influx of natural disasters, warming and cooling periods, different types of weather patterns and much more, people need to be aware of what types of environmental problems Nigerians are facing.

Our planet is poised at the brink of a severe environmental crisis. Current environmental problems make us vulnerable to disasters and tragedies, now and in the future. We are in a state of planetary emergency, with environmental problems piling up high around us. Unless we address the various issues prudently and seriously we are surely doomed for disaster.

Other environmental threats include poaching and settlement within protected areas, brushfires, increasing demand for fuelwood and timber, road expansion, and oil extraction activities.

Below are some of the environmental issues Nigeria should be aware of:

GLOBAL WARMING: Is one of the issues Nigeria needs to look at. Climate changes like global warming is the result of human practices like emission of Greenhouse gases. Global warming leads to rising temperatures of the oceans and the earth’ surface causing melting of polar ice caps, rise in sea levels and also unnatural patterns of precipitation such as flash floods, excessive snow or desertification.

INCREASED HUMAN POPULATION: Nigeria’s population is increasing at a faster rate. This has resulted in over consumption, leading to poverty and other environmental problems. All the many environmental issues are caused by the large population that cannot match the available resources.

CLIMATE CHANGE: Climate change is yet another environmental problem that has surfaced in the last couple of decades. It occurs due to rise in global warming which occurs as a result of increase in temperature of the atmosphere by burning of fossil fuels and release of harmful gases by industries.

Climate change has various harmful effects but not limited to melting of polar ice, change in seasons, occurrence of new diseases, frequent occurrence of floods and change in overall weather scenario.

CLEAN AND RENEWABLE ENERGY: This is second only to climate change. The human race is faced with the environmental problem of cleaning up or replacing the burning of fossil fuels that enhanced industrial revolution during 18th century. Unless a clean and renewable energy is found as an alternative, our planet/Nigeria risks being turned into an inhabitable, hostile and not fit for human survival. There is need for the development and adoption of clean energy.

BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION: Biodiversity is critical for the survival of the ecosystem because it can help in food production, disease control, crop pollination and recreation. There is need to prioritise the areas that require conservation.

The need for change in our daily lives and the actions of our government need to grow. Because so many different factors come into play; voting, governmental issues, the desire to stick to routine, many Nigerians don’t consider that what they do will affect future generations. If humans continue moving forward in such a harmful way towards the future, then there will be no future to consider.

Although it’s true that we cannot physically stop our ozone layer from thinning (and scientists are still having trouble figuring out what is causing it exactly,) there are still so many things we can do to try and put a dent in what we already know. By raising awareness in your local community and within your families about these issues, you can help contribute to a more environmentally conscious and friendly place for you to live.

Idowu, Team Lead for Climate Wednesday, writes from Lagos, Nigeria


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