ENHANCING THE ENVIRONMENT FOR A BETTER LIVING- THE ROLE WE HAVE TO PLAY.

Our environment includes everything around us Flora, Fauna, Living and Non-Living. As much as this ought to be our safe space the reverse is often the case and this is also due to certain activities carried out by us. Nigeria as a country is faced with a couple of environmental challenges ranging from pollution to flooding, erosion and deforestation. These challenges in a couple of ways affect the overall well being of individuals. Pollution is basically a function of our activities, varying from air to water and even noise pollution and our day to day activities have an input in this. Flooding is the most recent challenge as the rains are here. Roads and areas we thought were fair enough have become eyesores. Erosion is also a major challenge as it is often associated with flooding, depreciating the soil strength and quality and putting us at risk of deforestation, drought and famine. Forests which ought to refresh the atmosphere and serve as home to animals are being lost everyday due to flooding and urbanization.

Now what exactly are we doing wrong that’s hurting the environment?. There is the issue of cleanliness, acts such as indiscriminate dumping of refuse, daily use of machines and automobiles, improper disposal of chemicals, deforestation and in general total negligence to the state of our environment is not only detrimental to the environment but to us also as a people. We need to know that every action taken against the purity of our environment is also an action taken against ourselves. I recall during the last administration that in Lagos state and a couple of other states, the last Saturday of the month was reserved for environmental sanitation. It was a mandatory exercise and everyone had to get involved in cleaning their surroundings, it ran from 7-10 am and my dad would get up to ensure that all hands were on deck. It was a pretty effective idea and we soon got used to it. I’m also aware that the government especially the Lagos state government has put a lot of effort into a very effective waste management agency but are these enough?. Inasmuch as the we do not realize the effect of our activities on the environment and put in individual efforts, the responsibility lies a hundred (100) per cent on the government to clean up our mess every time and I really don’t think this is the best way to purify and restore our environment.

Each and everyone of us have individual and joint roles to play in sustaining our environment, a good number of us are very guilty of dumping refuse anywhere we are, trust me if you knew how harmful this was to the environment you live in you would think of another option, factories and industries who also contribute a good amount of smoke exhaust and harmful chemicals to the environment without corresponding control measures in place and do not forget the increasing number of automobiles on our roads on a daily basis all need to be checked. Now this is the joint effort part, it would really be helpful if the Government, Non-Governmental Organisations, Corporate bodies, and well known public figures used some influence to initiate ‘save the environment’ themed seminars and programs. From what I observed the sensitization is not enough in both the young and older generations. Education is key and enlightening everyone about the dangers of an unsafe environment would help give them a reason to put an effort into preserving it. Also if more states could emulate the waste management plan implemented in Lagos state or probably something better, in all areas of their states this should do a lot of good. I would love that we rebuild forests in designated areas to help purify the often contaminated atmosphere. Also enforcing the availability of waste bins and their maintenance should go a long way. Lets not forget to do everything we can to preserve our waters. Constructing and maintaining conducive alternatives to transportation, like rail projects and waterways should also reduce not just the traffic but also the rate at which automobiles storm the roads and emit harmful gases like carbon mono-oxide into the environment. Although urbanization is key for a developing economy, we have to be sure that we are not harming ourselves and generations to come in the disguise of making life better. We may also need to implement environmental protection laws to put things in check. We do not necessarily have to wait for a wake up call to maintain an healthy environment, take a step today no matter how small because ensuring a safe and healthy environment starts with YOU and I……

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