Daily Trust - - ENVIRONMENT - Olu An­dah Wal-Ogosu

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

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