The environment in Nigeria today is under serious stress, it is being battered from all angles and NES, the foremost environmental group in Nigeria today, has as one of its aims to proffer solutions and to enhance environmental awareness, both in theory and in practice. So that places NES in a vantage position, more so because the association has 26 chapters across the country. The environmental problems range from the ecological, industrial or natural, in other words, the environmental problems we have is caused by individual, groups and industrial activities. Attitude also impinges on the well being of people environmentally. If you go up north, the typical problem is desert encroachment and the impact of agriculture goes with that, at the rate the desert is pushing down, it is creating a lot of havoc on agriculture, including livestock. And also the rate at which human beings are exploiting marginal lands in the north is creating problems to the rate that the Sahel is being depleted at a faster rate. If you move towards the north-central you have serious threat on the land as a result of unsustainable exploitation of soil minerals. Nigeria is rich with solid minerals but the rate at which we are exploiting those leaves us with a lot of environmental hazards. Not too long ago, we had a problem in Zamfara which had to do with the way they were harvesting lead which is a poisonous metal, so you have environmental problems dove tailing into health issues. Then if you go down south, you have coastal erosion, sea encroachment, and vegetation goes with these. And in those areas where we have black gold i.e., oil, the impact is disastrous. In the eastern flank you have gully erosion that is separating communities and affecting the quality of life. And because of lack of planning, our cities decay is setting in and we have waste management problem which cuts across all our cities. Our consumption and production habits are horrible so it is a crisis situation. We are not managing waste in Nigeria; we are only transporting waste from point A to
B in the name of disposal.
Then what is NES doing to address these problems?
Like I said, we have 26 branches and regularly we have education awareness programmes which we take to primary, secondary schools, even tertiary schools. We have environmental societies and clubs, and we partner with some states, we organise workshops, seminars aimed at improving on our knowledge, and also carry our programmes to markets, motor parks and areas with high concentration of people. When