April 22, 2024

Over the years, there have been calls for the citizens of Nigeria to adhere to rules and regulations stipulated by the Nigerian Federal Government concerning maintaining an eco-friendly environment.  There’s no doubt that environmental sustainability has suddenly become a critical priority for Nigeria as the country faces ecological decline.  

Not only is this  a major challenge to be tackled by her citizens and its government, but it also poses a threat to good health and livelihoods which requires all hands to be on deck.  The purpose of this article is to bring to light the key environmental problems faced by Nigeria, as well as some tips to maintain a sustainable living for reducing environmental impact in Nigeria.  

Major Environmental Issues in Nigeria

Here are the current environmental issues in Nigeria: 

Deforestation

  • Since 1990, Nigeria has lost over 50% of its forest cover which is equivalent to a loss of 11 million hectares of forest.
  • Major drivers are logging, subsistence agriculture, and rapid urbanization.
  • Deforestation increases erosion, reduces biodiversity, and decreases carbon sequestration.

Desertification

  • About 60% of Nigeria’s land area is affected by desertification especially across the northern parts of the country.  
  • Desertification in the country is majorly caused by drought, climate change, and unsustainable farming methods.
  • Desertification aggravates food insecurity and contributes to farmer-herder conflicts.

Water Contamination

  • Surface and groundwater face industrial pollution from oil spills and mining.
  • Sewage mismanagement contaminates drinking water, causing waterborne diseases. 
  • Flooding worsens water pollution in big cities like Lagos, Port Harcourt, etc. 

Air Pollution

  • Rapid urbanization and traffic congestion degrades Nigeria’s air quality, especially in cities.
  • Indoor air pollution from burning solid fuels causes respiratory diseases.
  • Gas flaring by oil companies releases harmful hydrocarbons.

Erosion

  • Coastal and gully erosion threatens communities in southeastern Nigeria.
  • Caused by construction, deforestation, and climate change impacts.

Waste Management

 

  • Nigeria generates 32 million tons of solid waste annually but collects only 40% of it.
  • Results in urban litter and blocked drains spreading sanitation diseases.
  • Electronic waste recycling is limited, creating pollution.

Why is Environmental Sustainability Important? 

There are several reasons why pursuing environmental sustainability is important in Nigeria. They are as follows: 

Ensuring Public Health and Better Living 

  • Promoting an eco-friendly environment helps to drastically reduce pollution of air, water, and soil is vital for lowering the incidence of diseases.
  • Sustainability allows healthier, higher-quality living environments between humans and livestock.  

Economic Progress

  • Environmental degradation costs Nigeria $5 billion in GDP annually. Sustainability protects growth and reduces the cost of environmental damages and human health issues.  
  • Greener agricultural practices boost farm yields and food security across the country.  

Reducing Climate Change Vulnerability

  • As a developing country, Nigeria is highly vulnerable to climate change impacts like desertification, flooding, and erosion. Environmental sustainability can help reduce these natural hazards.  
  • Sustainable land use and emission reduction is key for resilience.

Conserving Biodiversity

  • Nigeria is rich in wildlife and ecosystems like mangroves and rainforests. Protecting this natural heritage maintains balance in Nature.  

Improving Resource Efficiency

  • Sustainability principles optimize the utilization of energy, water, land and materials. This increases productivity.

Attracting Investment

  • Environmentally progressive policies make Nigeria more attractive for foreign investment and partnerships.
  • Pursuing sustainability also upholds Nigeria’s commitments under global agreements like the Paris Climate Accord and UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Government Policies and Regulations Concerning Environmental Sustainability

The Nigerian Government has established various policies and regulations to promote environmental sustainability:

National Policy on Environment, 1989

  • Provides framework for environmental governance. Outlines objectives across themes like pollution control.

National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) Act, 2007

  • Established NESREA as the main regulatory body protecting the environment. Monitors violations.

Nigeria Vision 20:2020

  • Government’s development agenda emphasizes sustainable economic growth protecting ecosystems.

National Environmental (Sanitation and Wastes Control) Regulations, 2009

  • Outlines regulations for managing solid and liquid waste from industries and households.

National Policy on Plastic Waste Management, 2019

  • Sets plastic waste minimization and recycling objectives. Prohibits non-degradable plastics.

Nigeria Nationally Determined Contribution under Paris Agreement

  • Nigeria pledged 20% unconditional emission cut by 2030, and 47% cut with international support.

4 Sustainable Living Practices for Reducing Your Environmental Impact in Nigeria 

Now, let’s get into the main business for today.  Here we will discuss 6 sustainable lining practices for reducing your environmental impact in Nigeria. So, let’s get started: 

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle 

The mantra of “reduce, reuse, recycle” is a timeless guide to sustainable living. If you must experience a healthy eco-friendly environment then it must start with you doing the needful to protect not just your life but the lives of others around you and the Earth overall.  

You can begin by doing the following; 

 

  1. Minimizing waste in your day to day life by opting for reusable products, such as water bottles, shopping bags, and containers. 
  2. Whenever possible, choose products with minimal packaging and opt for items made from recycled materials. 
  3. Be sure to recycle paper, plastic, glass, and metal products to divert waste from landfills and conserve valuable resources. 

By doing the above listed, you should be able to reduce your waste impact by a huge margin and this can guarantee a healthier and greener living. The idea is to start by doing the little things that look insignificant to save our beautiful world! 

Conserve Water 

Conserving water is an ideal practice that every citizen living in Nigeria should incorporate into their daily lives. It is something every family should do to preserve and maintain good quality water deemed fit for drinking not only now but in the future to come.  

Water is a precious resource that should be used wisely. You can take steps to conserve water at home, in the office, at school by doing the following; 

Take steps to conserve water at home by; 

  1. Ensuring that every leak is fixed as soon as possible to avoid water wastage.  
  2. Turning off every tap when not in use, and 
  3. Installing water-saving devices such as low-flow showerheads and faucets.
  4. Make use of rainwater for outdoors and landscaping, and be mindful of water usage in daily activities such as washing dishes, doing laundry, and any other home activities that involve using water.  

Conserving water is an important aspect of environmental sustainability considering that it helps to protect the environment and preserve natural resources. While it is important for everyone, it is especially critical in areas that are prone to drought or faced with constant water scarcity.  

Conserve Energy 

Energy conservation is the practice to promote minimal energy consumption by using fewer energy services. This can be done by using energy more conservatively or effectively or by changing one’s behavior to use less service thereby saving costs, water, and energy.  

Like conserving water, Nigerians can also learn to conserve energy as it is a key aspect of sustainable living. You can take simple steps to reduce your energy consumption at home, or work place by doing the following; 

  1. Turning off lights and appliances when not in use, unplugging electronics when they’re not in use
  2. Using energy-efficient appliances and lighting fixtures. 

You can also consider; 

  1. Investing in renewable energy such as solar, wind etc., as a way of reducing your carbon footprint and supporting sustainable energy for the future.
  2. Insulating your home and using natural light when possible are also highly recommended.  

Choose Sustainable Transportation 

Transportation is a significant contributor to carbon emissions and air pollution. We can see this in vehicles, and trucks on the road, and trains on the rails. You can reduce your carbon footprint on the environment by; 

  1. By-passing the use of cars frequently for transportation.  
  2. Planning routes to minimize travel time and distance.  

You also decide to do more walking, biking, or using public transportation for short trips and carpooling with friends or colleagues for longer journeys. Also, avoid unnecessary trips and if you need to drive, consider investing in a fuel-efficient vehicle or using a car sharing service to reduce your environmental impact. 

Wrap Up 

When it comes to having a sustainable environment, it is not the duty of just one person. It is a collective responsibility of the people within that area. But then, if you want a healthier and greener environment then the process must start with ‘YOU’ being conscious of your impact on the environment.  

You need to ensure that whatever you are doing doesn’t in any way pose a threat to the environment or lives of the people around you. That being said, you can protect the environment by being conservative in your use of water, energy and being smart when it comes to using items.  

While there are several other sustainable living practices you can implement in your personal life, these four (4) stand as the most important ones. By recycling/reusing materials, conserving water and energy and using sustainable transportation, you can effortlessly save our planet from ecological hazards.  P.S – I hope you enjoyed reading this article. However, before you leave can you list out other sustainable living practices we can incorporate in our daily lives in the comment section? Thank you so much for reading thus far!

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