By Adefolake Adekola
It is important we take care of our environment as individuals and collectively. We should also note that since we are the ones responsible for taking care of the environment, we also have to look out for ourselves.
Russell Crowe (a New Zealand citizen who has lived most of his life in Australia) missed the Golden Globes Awards because he was back home in Australia protecting his family from the devastating bushfire. In his ‘thank you’ speech, he said: “Make no mistake, the tragedy unfolding in Australia is climate change based, we need to act based on science, move our global workforce to energy and respect our planet for the unique and amazing place it is. That way, we all have a future”.
We all can see what is going on all over the world. Threats of war, burning forests, volcanic eruption, and so many other issues – whether man-made or caused by nature. For those planning on fleeing Nigeria to foreign soil for greener pasture, you might want to reconsider because no place is safe now. Every nation on earth now has one issue they are trying to handle and no matter where we run to, there is a challenge to be solved there.
Nigeria will always be our home and for that reason, we have a collective responsibility to save our great nation. When it comes to the environment, every single individual has a role to play. This responsibility is not just for the Government, International Organizations or Non-Governmental organizations (NGOs), it is a collective responsibility. Individuals, religious institutions, schools, private companies, communities, and so on, all need to understand that the repercussion cuts across all sectors when the environment is not looked after. Thankfully, we do not face natural disasters in Nigeria but that does not mean man-made disasters cannot be catastrophic.
2020 is the beginning of another decade. This is the best time for us to get our act together and make right decisions that will affect the outcomes of the next ten years. As an environmentalist, I will share a few things I believe we can do in order to ensure we look after our environment and make sure our activities do not cause harm to our environment.
What can we do to ensure we sustain our environment?
Reduce – Reuse – Recycle
For the past five years, Nigerians have seen the havoc plastic pollution has caused in our environment, especially in our homes, offices, beaches, etc. If we do not make a conscious effort to tackle this now, we will be dealing with a lot of plastics everywhere. Studies show that by 2050, there will be more plastics in the sea than fish – which is in 30 years. We need to reduce our use of plastics in every sector in Nigeria. Reuse the plastics already produced and recycle the ones that have served their purpose.
Asides the benefits we all know trees provide – which is to act as a shade for people, cars and beautification of places – trees play an important role in the environment. They improve the quality of the air we breathe and reduce global warming, thereby ultimately reducing the depletion of the ozone layer. So we need to start planting more trees.
I wrote an article on cow fart and the amount of methane they release into the atmosphere. It is advisable to have animal ranches rather than having them roaming the streets and around the country. This will reduce greenhouse gas emission in Nigeria.
Nigeria solely relies on one major source of energy. Over the last decade, there is no place in Nigeria that can boast of electricity as we have in developed countries. Maybe it is time to look towards other sources of energy. Solar energy has really gained ground in Nigeria but due to the cost implication, so many people cannot afford it. We, as a people, need to look at a source of energy that is not capital intensive and will equally serve the purpose.
Reduce the Proliferation of Boreholes
Most urban houses in Nigeria have a borehole and this has caused an imbalance in our water systems around the country. It is advisable that alternative water supply is looked at. If boreholes will be used at all, there should be a general one for estates or for a number of houses, rather than having every house dig a borehole. Boreholes have negative cumulative impacts on the environment.
Reduce CO emission
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a greenhouse gas known to have negative impacts on the environment. There are so many sources of CO – especially in underdeveloped countries – such as bush burning, cars, use of coal, smoking, outdoor grilling (barbecue) and so on. This is not to say we should not grill outdoors or we should not drive cars but we should find ways to reduce CO emissions as much as possible.
Protect Endangered species
There are so many endangered species in Nigeria, both on land and in the sea. Nigerians have formed the habit of eating any aquatic animal that washes onshore. In cases like this, the agency responsible for aquatic life should be called promptly. The same thing should be done on land.
Proper Waste Management
Lack of proper waste management has led to flooding in so many parts of Nigeria. When the rains come, the gutters and drainages are usually clogged with waste and this leads to flooding. Poor waste management also leads to land, water, and air pollution.
It is important we take care of our environment as individuals and collectively. We should also note that since we are the ones responsible for taking care of the environment, we also have to look out for ourselves. In this new year, we need to take care of our bodies by eating healthy and giving our body enough rest as well. When we are at our best, that is when we can look after the environment.
Happy New Year and cheers to the next 10 years! Let’s make it count.