AWARENESS OF JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS TO ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION
Man's environment is so important to his living conditions because it defines how he organises his activities and how he is influenced by what is around him. Man cannot exist apart from his environment. Man's relationship with his environment is a long-standing symbiotic one.
Man gives to the environment what he is able to waste in his activities, while the environment provides man with inexpensive and favourable conditions in which to carry out his activities. Man cannot live without wastes from his home, commercial, and industrial activities, which have acquired numerous forms and are dumped in various locations.
Improper disposal of these wastes into the environment has resulted in contamination. Pollution of the environment has become an issue for mankind.
The purpose of this study was to determine the level of environmental pollution awareness or literacy among junior secondary school students in Enugu South L.G.A, Enugu State. The pupils were asked to respond to research questions via a questionnaire.
The information gathered was analysed using analysis of variance (ANOVA). The statistical analysis revealed that these students are sufficiently knowledgeable of what defines environmental contamination and its potentially harmful impacts. Such good results suggest that it should be taught as a secondary school subject. Topics for future research were also identified, as well as recommendations.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Man cannot survive apart from his environment. His existence is defined by the extent to which his surroundings is available and dependent on him. Based on this, every effort has been made in recent times to ameliorate man's terrible environmental conditions in order to protect man (Schandorf et al, 2003).
Man is so absorbed in his environment that he cannot function without it. Chambers 21st Century Dictionary defines environment as “the surroundings or conditions in which something or someone exists.” The Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary defines environment as the conditions that influence someone's or something's behaviour and development, as well as the physical conditions under which someone or something exists.
The term “environment” can relate to both the cultural and socioeconomic environments. It is more of a physical environment in the context of this research, which according to Uchegbu (2002) is a type of system within which organisms interact with the physical environment, which includes air, water, and land.
The dynamics of man's existence in creative purposes in life, his involvement in the industrial revolution, commercial networks, high-tech global networking systems, and scientific researches to demystify the environment and subject it under man's existential control have committed man to constant waste production – these wastes, through pollution, have degraded the environment to the point of great concern (Schandorf et al, 2003).
Pollution is defined as a man-made act by Chambers 21st Century Dictionary as the bad effect on the natural environment, including human, animal, or plant life, of a toxic material that does not occur naturally. In other words, the introduction of man-made objects into the environment has a negative impact on both man and the environment (Arnold, 1974).
Enugu South Local government Area is not immune to pollution-causing activities. Pollutants are produced by activities within and around the Local Government Area, which contaminate the environment. Students at the area's secondary schools engage in some residential, commercial, and school curriculum activities that generate trash and contribute to pollution.
The question is, do the Junior Secondary School pupils in the affected local government region understand what causes environmental pollution? Are they aware of what pollutants are, what pollutants are classified as, what activities might cause contamination of the environment, the hazards of environmental deterioration caused by pollution, or, in a nutshell, what pollution of the environment and its hazardous effects on man and his environment are? The trial on these points will bring to light how many and how far the younger children of the school in Enugu South LGA are aware of what environmental pollution is and what efforts will be taken to make them aware of environmental pollution.
The earth environment, in its different forms or spheres on land, sea, and air, has been of greater value to the real existence of the earth, living and non-living objects in it, throughout its existence. The coexistence of the three sectors of the earth's environment has greatly aided the birth and development of stable ecological phenomena on the planet (Schandorf et al, 2003).
The sustenance of the earth's environment, both to man and to all living things on the planet, must be a phenomenon of coexistence in a symbiotic relationship, which, if not maintained, can lead to degradation and harmful effects. Exploring the earth's environment and using its resources for man's scientific discoveries, technological advancement, and industrial development has not only damaged the earth's ecological system, but has also polluted the earth's ecosystem. As a result, environmental concerns become so visible with man, around man, and for man that they become a natural problem even in Nigeria (Ofomata, 2003).
Pollution in the atmosphere has recently been able to distort the ozone layer, causing direct effects of sunrays on earth and changes in the atmospheric conditions of the earth's planet, as seen in Thailand, Mexico, China, the United States of America, and Europe (De Souza, 1999).
Pollution in the earth's aquatic regions has disrupted the ecological system of the marine sphere of the planet's environment. Oil spills, home, industrial, and commercial pollutants that find their way into the aquatic region have not only harmed aquatic forages but also damaged the marine environment's ecological system. Similarly, garbage from mining activities in some villages and textile companies is directed down the stream, contaminating the water (Schandorf et al, 2003).
Land contamination is not excluded. Chemical reagents, plastics, rubber, battery components in our domestic electronic gazettes, as well as chemical application in our agricultural farming systems, have resulted in the production of chemically polluted land environment and both surface and under surface water resources around man.
Meanwhile, all of these environmental polluted wastes are all around man, causing both health and environmental hazardous consequences to man as well as the climatic condition of the earth planet; thus, everywhere environment experiences pollution and its consequences, whereby affected victims may not be considered or turned to be passive compensated by the concerned authority for a short period of time (Adinna, 2003).
Often, man has done nothing to address the threat of environmental pollution (Adinna, 2003). As a result, the lack of a viable solution to its management has resulted in its ongoing dangerous impacts on man and the environment. As a result, it calls for correct orientation of the relevant authorities in order to develop measures to guide against environmental degradation.
Among other measures, proper environmental management orientation of our secondary school kids is fundamental to the answer. Environmental pollution is a daily natural event in Enugu, and its incorrect management and subsequent consequences are visible facts among the people that reside in this city.
Even students are frequently involved in pollution and the development of environmental toxins. Furthermore, kids in Enugu South Local Government Area secondary schools are not immune to this tendency.
As a result, urgent and increased efforts to teach them, establish awareness methods for them to understand the worldwide repercussions of pollution, and what pollution is all about will help reduce the pollution effect of the environment within and surrounding the area of study to a minimum. Alternatively, if any legal requirements are required, the pupils will be aware of them, their repercussions, and their significance (Ofomata, 2003).
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Human wastes find their way into our city's surface and subsurface water supplies if correctly disposed of. According to Uyanga (2003), all wastes have an impact on man and his environment in some way if they are not adequately managed. Human industrial development in our city generates garbage that ends up in our surface and subsurface rivers.
Even our commercial activities in our numerous market regions generate garbage, both biodegradable and non-biodegradable, which may be seen spread in various shopping areas and market places (Uyanga, 2003). Animal faeces or wastes are also washed into our surface waterways from numerous market abattoirs.
Clinical waste from our health centres and hospitals is also visible being washed down streams and underground rivers. People use such regions for defecation and rubbish disposal in various undeveloped sites. Various street hawkers also contribute to the deposit and generation of rubbish within and surrounding the city. All of these are pollutants and pollution processes that degrade the environment, both remotely and locally.
Because of an inconsistent and superficial administrative approach to handling the problem, waste disposal in Enugu city has tainted any potential solutions. As a result, residents create ways to dispose of their generated wastes in streams or underground waters, which are available supplies for both residential and some industrial activity.
Based on this, the Enugu South Local Government Area and its environs have experienced a number of environmental health hazards and disease outbreaks in recent years, with serious diseases such as cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, and malaria on the rise, as are the stressed views of Ofomata highlighting the hazardous consequences of such action (Ofomata, 2003).
When it rains during the rainy season, the easy flowing water drainage is clogged by deposited wastes in them as a result of inappropriate waste management in the region of study. Thus, the impacts of erosions are seen in the over-flooding of the area with human wastes, which has resulted in certain harmful health effects as well as damage of the ecosystem and aesthetic value of the studied area.
During the dry season, the area of our study is not only polluted by dirt and human-generated wastes, but also by putrid odours, making the water dangerous and unpleasant for human activities. Even some deposited chemical and industrial non-biodegradable waste products are washed into the area's surrounding surface and subterranean waters, as Dorayi (1982) correctly identified as sources of environmentally unfavourable situations.
Our secondary school surroundings are not immune to human waste and pollution caused by students, which has not only harmed the environment but has also distorted the aesthetic value of our environment, often leading to harmful health impacts.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
This study project intends to assess the level of environmental pollution awareness among junior secondary school students in Enugu South Local Government Area. These specific objectives are addressed in order to reach this goal. They are as follows:
1. To determine the kids' comprehension of what the environment is.
2. To investigate the different types and classifications of contaminants in the study region.
3. To use random sampling of students as case studies to learn more about what they think about environmental contamination.
4. To detect the detrimental consequences of pollution on the environment in the research area.
5. To investigate potential policy actions that could be used to sustain the created awareness inside and around the scope of study.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The outcomes of this project, which focuses on environmental pollution awareness, will be extremely valuable not only to the researcher, but also to the entire Enugu South Local Government Area, its environs, and Enugu State in general.
Again, it will go a long way towards disclosing the necessary knowledge to address the problem of environmental pollution, which has been a sensitive issue inside and surrounding the study area because to its health and environmental danger diversification.
As a result, it will be very sensitive information for school authorities, the government, and environmental management agencies to have workable measures to identify various pollutants, sources of pollution, and how to minimise waste generation and maximise waste recycling techniques that could be of greater assistance to concerned schools, local government and state authorities, and the populace in controlling waste disposal and embarking on waste recycling techniques. Riggs (1968) was able to establish four aspects of urban pollution in order to assist in identifying these sources of human activity in urban environments, which include:
1. Urban Infection: As a result of the numerous contacts that each individual has throughout the day.
2. Intoxication in the city refers to being poisoned by the environment. This has been especially visible near chemical-related firms and industries.
3. Urban Deficiency: This is caused by both ultraviolet and other sunrays, as well as a lack of food and unbalanced diets in some locations.
4. Overwork might be academic, muscular, or intellectual, or it can be the result of insomnia. Effective management requires only a small amount of knowledge, awareness, and practise of high-level cleanliness.
Furthermore, the findings of this research project will be of educational value to all students in the studied local government area, raising awareness of the need to identify environmental pollution processes, how environmental pollution is generated, and the hazardous effects on humans and the environment.
Furthermore, by conducting extensive research on the environment and man, as well as utilising various environmental management techniques, the findings will instill environmental consciousness in students, allowing them to develop a foundation of personal hygiene, environmental cleanliness, and how to reduce environmental pollution activities while maximising recycling of the various generated environmental wastes.
This project's recommendation will also serve as an educational phenomenon and a reference agenda for the competent authorities in the future, assisting in the prevention of environmental mismanagement tendencies among youths and secondary school students. When they are led in good environmental management, it will tremendously aid in the global awareness effort to develop and live in a greener environment.
It will also be appropriate grass-root environmental management orientation awareness for young pupils to study and know their environment in order to improve its ecological subsistence. Adinna (2003) agrees, emphasising the critical need of raising pollution awareness in order to support people's environmental education.
Finally, the format of the data and research information offered by this study will be critical to many environmental authorities and planners in the investigated local government area, as well as the state in general. This will help them in their grass-roots campaign to regulate environmental management among kids, particularly students, who are the future hope of sustaining a sustainable environment.
It will also help to integrate it in the school curriculum for junior secondary kids and others as part of their academic school schedule. In doing so, the issue of environmental pollution control will become a self-imposed duty on individual students, as well as on everyone in general as assistance to help tackle similar environmental problems such as proper environmental waste management and global consciousness to safeguard the environment and sustain the global ecosystem for ourselves now and future generations to come (Oforji, 2007).
1.5 QUESTIONS FOR RESEARCH
To achieve significant success in carrying out this as it relates to the objectives of this study, the following basic research vital questions must be provided as a guide to the researcher. They are as follows:
1. What do the pupils mean when they say “environment”?
2. What do the pupils mean when they talk about environmental pollution classification?
3. What does environmental contamination mean to the students?
4. What are the student's perceptions of the dangers of environmental pollution?
5. What are some feasible recommendations or remedies to these environmental contamination issues?
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study primarily sought information from junior secondary schools in Enugu South Local Government Area. A local government area consists of both urban and semi-urban areas. Awkunanaw, Uwani (the local government headquarters), Idaw-River, Maryland are among the urban regions, while semi-urban areas include Obeagu Awkunanaw, Ugwuaji, Ndiagu Amechi, and Akwuke. Because of its proximity to Enugu, the state capital, the local government has a strong influence on urbanisation. As a result, there is still a steady development of the local government territory to its sub-urban areas.
Meanwhile, each of these local government regions has both government and private Junior and Senior Secondary Schools. However, due to the constraints of this study, it focused primarily on government-owned Junior Secondary Schools. The data presentation table below goes into great detail about this.