According to the United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) the temperature of the earth has risen, with 17 out of 18 warmest years on the planet having been recorded since 2001. Climate change has been explained as inexorable as population and waste production continues to rise.
Nigerians have always considered themselves blessed in comparison to those experiencing natural disasters on a global scale. We do not have earthquakes, nor do we experience tornadoes or cyclones, however mother nature has increasingly been baring her fangs of late.
This raining season, heavy rains and flooding in 12 States were deemed a national disaster in parts of the country, with thousands of Nigerians equally facing cholera outbreak and displacement. The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) recorded 199 deaths from the recent floodings, after the main Niger and Benue rivers burst their banks, while the Lake Chad situated in the North-East of Nigeria continues to dry up. BBC reported that the lake has dried up by at least 90 per cent, with the worst hit areas of being in Niger and Nigeria.
According to the United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) the temperature of the earth has risen, with 17 out of 18 warmest years on the planet having been recorded since 2001. Climate change has been explained as inexorable as population and waste production continues to rise. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in their most recent report warned that allowing the global mean surface temperature to increase by 2c would create more extreme weathers, sea level rises, destruction of wildlife and crops, and the reduction of consumable water thats availabile to humankind. The Paris Climate Agreement, which was signed by 195 countries including Nigeria, has raised the topic of climate change and the need for human beings to abandon their anthropocentric nature if we want our future generations to have a world to live in.
Human beings in our anthropocentric nature tend to overindulge and in the many years that have passed, we have stripped the earth of her resources in an attempt to maximise economic growth. Creating a sustainable future will require us to balance environmental protection, economic growth and equity for future generations.
Bob ward, a writer for The Guardian has raised the issues that if the IPCC’s predictions are accurate, then we can expect a world of war, without the coolness seen on apocalyptic movies. Many parts of the world will be affected and uninhabitable which can increase the chances of political instability and conflict. We do not even need to go too far, the drying up of the Lake Chad river has affected the North-East of Nigeria, which is now known as a hotspot of terrorism. It is no doubt that many factors are at play, but we also need to become conscious of the environmental aspects of this. The people of the area were known as fishermen and farmers, specialised in agriculture and utilising the resources of the lake for their livelihoods. We can link the drying up of the lake with rising unemployment in the area, which then makes it a prefect recruiting ground for the islamist militants who offer members little cash to join their cause.
According to the World’s Top Exports page, Nigeria imported $1.3 billion worth of plastic and plastic articles in 2017 alone. Plastic which is non-biodegradable and hard to dispose of especially if no proper recycling methods are deployed. Solid waste management is a pressing environmental challenge faced in Nigeria, despite the many policies and regulations. Environmentalist Wale Bakare states that Nigeria produces more than 32 million tons of waste annually, out of which 20 per cent to 30 per cent is collected, the rest making its way to blocking sewers, drainages and amassing on our roads. Every society experiences waste but it should and can be managed to be less harmful to our natural environment. Countries like Kenya, Rwanda, Cameroon, Mali are among those that have banned plastic bags in making their own little contributions to environmental protection. Even practices like the reduction in consumption of meat will positively affect the environment, increasing natural land normally meant for animal husbandry. We do not even have to stop eating meat as a collective, but only need to reduce it.
Human beings in our anthropocentric nature tend to overindulge and in the many years that have passed, we have stripped the earth of her resources in an attempt to maximise economic growth. Creating a sustainable future will require us to balance environmental protection, economic growth and equity for future generations. It has been very difficult for us as individuals to identify with climate change because of its abstract nature, however, we need to be more conscious of the changes going on around us in order to prevent a major catastrophe. The Federal Government also needs to play a stronger role in providing structures that aid environmental protection, in addition to setting up a functioning transport system to discourage many people from using their cars daily, proper waste disposal, and the banning of plastic products. Also, the people would need to be conscientised on the advantages of installing solar panels to avoid generator use, instilling in our education system environmental protection values, and enabling the proper clean up of oil spillages in the South-South of Nigeria as ways of safeguarding the environment.
Aisha Victoria Hashim writes from Abuja.