COMPENSATION IN NIGERIA FOR ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION AND ITS EFFECTS
The environment is man’s immediate surroundings, and man has always been tempering with his/her environment in his causes to make life easier and meaningful for its existence, such as the exploration of crude oil, gold mining, and other natural minerals in his environment, which in turn creates danger to live stocks and crops during exploration, mining, and excavation.
This researcher has taken it upon himself to learn what the necessary compensations are due to the inhabitants living in that society, if any, and if the compensations are truly measurable enough to elevate the standard of living of the dwellers in that locality the necessary rules, laws, and penalties stipulated for defaulters who refuse to pay or
1.0 THE ENVIRONMENT’S NATURE AND ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION
Both history and science seemed to agree that the environment existed before the advent of man, and it is thus logical to rationalize that the environment preceded man’s human technologies and scientific development. It was correctly postulated by who that this environment prior to the advent of man was pure and unpolluted, as discerned from biblical records, when God created the sun total of what was conceived as the environment.
He saw that it was good, so man inherited a good environment and was constituted as a superior being to conquer all earthly natural resources, but not to destroy, pollute, or degrade natural resources created for the same superior beings to exist.
Some natural occurrences, such as earthquakes and draughts, cause harm to the natural environment, even though the natural environment has inbuilt mechanisms to absolve and eliminate some of the harm that originally occurs in nature. The intensification of man’s various activities has caused a shift in this natural mechanism by including and speeding up the occurrence of these incidents.
The preceding is from the standpoint of modern environmental irresponsibility. It has been known since the beginning of man’s creation that man has been dependent on the earth’s ecosystem to provide him with the means of sustenance air to breathe, food to eat, water to drink, and other natural resources to advance quality of life. In other words, good clothing and shelter are essential to man’s basic needs.
These are completely derived from land because life depends on it. The principle of quid plantator solo-solo cedit assumes that land consists of the earth’s surface, the soil, and the air space above it, as well as all things permanently attached to the soil. It also contains steams and ponds. Man, as the world’s most populous being, depends on the reservoir of resources within his immediate surroundings for his own sustenance;
he exploits the environment for all his needs. However, in his attempt to actualize his dreams of existence, the magnetite of his intrusion on the environment’s supporting web is generating an alarm that cannot be ignored, because man’s very existence is threatened to the cord. The above situation has resulted in widespread environmental degradation, which has occurred and continues to occur.
1.1 THE MEANING OF THE WORD ENVIRONMENT
The federal environment protection agency act defines environment as “water, air, land, and all humans and animals living therein, as well as the interrelationships that exist between them.” This essentially means that life is dependent on its surroundings.
Contrary to popular belief, most people in developing countries believe that their lives and livelihoods are entirely dependent on their immediate surroundings. It is now recognized that the environment extends beyond people’s immediate surroundings to other parts of the globe.
As a result, environment is an umbrella term that encompasses all of the essential elements required for life to exist.
1.2 THE CONCEPT OF ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION
There is a chain in the environment that includes all of the constituents in a complex relationship. The chain starts with the simplest elements and progresses to the most complex components in the environment. Each constituent’s activities are regarded as the existence of some other fact or which ensures that a balance is maintained in the natural setup.
The existence of man and his reliance on resources in his immediate vicinity for sustenance have drawn so much from the natural store of resources that there is now an imbalance in the natural setup, and as the human population grows, so do the demands on natural resources.
As a result, in the absence of adequate or significant efforts at stock conservation or replacement, this results in a continuous depletion of available resources. This exploitation of natural resources foreshadows a bleak future for unborn creation. In fact, no activity undertaken by man for his own sustenance and advancement has no effect on the various interactions that exist among the constituents of the environment.
Environmental degradation is primarily defined as pollution in all of its forms, that is, any undesirable changes in the natural characteristics of the environment or the constituent. It includes everything from waste generated and carelessly dumped by various households to farming operations in which natural land is destroyed and chemicals such as pesticides and inorganic fertilizers are released into the environment.
It covers a wide range of scientific laboratories, power plants, and industrial sites where harmful emissions and waste are released into the environment. Others include the construction of structures without proper authorization and/or compliance with health regulations, as well as the various billboards that litter and deface the natural environment. These bits and pieces then come together to cause severe environmental problems for the entire neighborhood, state, and country.
Section 38 of the Federal Environmental Protection Agency Act (FEPA)33 defined pollution as “manmade or man-aided alteration of the chemical, physical, or biological quality of the environment to the extent that is detrimental to the environment or exceeds acceptable limits,” and “pollutants” shall be constructed accordingly. Thus, any undesirable change in the composition or state of the environment that renders it unable to perform its natural roles satisfactorily constitutes environmental degradation.
This is true regardless of whether the change was caused by nature or by man’s creation. All that is required is the occurrence of any state or condition in the environment that prevents it from being suitable for the purpose that it was naturally suited for, and whenever this situation occurs, damage to the environment is said to have occurred.
According to Middlation in Atlas of Environment Issue Oxford University Press 19885, acid rain destroys more than 11 million hectares of forest each year.
1.3 THE CAUSES OF ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION
There are numerous causes of environmental degradation and natural environment damage. These factors that cause environmental destruction stem from the activities of nature itself, which include man, animals, and other elements found in the environment. However, all of the factors can be broadly classified into two types.
1. Sources of natural occurrences
2. the manufactured sources
1.2.1 Natural Resources
As previously stated, there are some natural factors that contribute to environmental degradation on their own. Quite often, the natural environment takes care of these factors, providing certain safeguards to prevent any serious harm that may result from such activities.
The occurrence of soil erosion, whether caused by rain or wind, is a natural act that occurs on its own; when it occurs, there is a resultant washing away of the soil beginning from the top soil and progressing to the subsoil. In severe cases, the entire top layer of soil is washed away, resulting in what is known as short erosion.
The end result of any type of erosion is environmental damage. Nature, on the other hand, has its own mechanism for controlling soil erosion and protecting the environment. It ensures that the soil is not left bare by providing regetation, lives the soil shelter from direct impart, plant roots hold the soil parties together to form soil aggregate, thereby improving soil structure and making serious erosion less likely.
This reduces the severity of erosion, but with man’s continued destruction of natural vegetation in his quest to satisfy his own desires, this natural protection of the soil is rapidly disappearing. As a result, soil erosion has become widespread throughout the world. This intern has heard the consequences of causing irreparable harm to the environment and others, as well as destroying the natural landscape.
Another natural factor is the world’s land area rapidly desertifying. Because of the low and unreliable precipitation rate, this frequently results in arid and semi-arid zones. Vegetable growth is limited in this location due to the lack of available moisture. As a result, the soil is bare and dry, exposing it to the weather element of wind, which blooms unhindered across it.
This loosens the soil particles, resulting in a friable (easily chattered) soil structure that is essentially sandy and agriculturally ineffective. Dissertation is a vain that has been enhanced by man’s activities such as overgrowing the land, continuous tillage, and deforestation, all of which only remove the vegetation cover and expose the soil elements. weather Other factors that have a negative impact on the environment include earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
Earthquakes, which are the unfortunate violent movement of the earth’s surface, frequently result in land slides. This destroys the land and everything on it, including human lives, buildings, and vegetation. It also destroys the land’s natural topography. Volcanic eruption is the release of molten inorganic lava from the earth’s “belly,” which forces its way to the surface and causes significant environmental degradation or damage.
Molten lava flows from the earth’s core to the surface, forming extrusive igneous rock. Many harmful gases may be emitted into the environment during the eruption, destroying or endangering life. As a result of some of his activities, such as mining for minerals and building dams for irrigation, man causes the occurrence of these otherwise natural phenomena.
1.2.2 The Man-Made Sources
These are the primary contributors to environmental degradation. They include all activities that are harmful to the environment but do not have an origin, that is, events that would not have occurred in normal circumstances. There are numerous artificial sources of environmental degradation (damage), but they all have one thing in common: “man.”
This is due to the fact that man is the sole and most important actor in the environmental scene. Its various efforts to make life more comfortable for himself have a direct impact on the environment and all other degradation factors. Some of the human activities that degrade the environment include:
188.8.131.52 Housework and Chores
Man generates a large amount of waste and garbage in the course of his daily domestic activities in the home, which he discharges into the environment. Man generates so much household waste that if it is not properly disposed of, it has a negative impact on the environment. In Nigeria, for example, the volume of household waste disposed of indiscriminately has resulted in the blockage of drainage and river channels.
As a result of the flood disaster, lives and property were lost, as was the case in the “Ogunpa” river flood disaster in Ibadan in 1980, when lives were lost and property was destroyed. Furthermore, if household waste, including human excrement, is not properly disposed of, it can emit harmful gases such as Amonia sulfur (v) oxide and hydrogen sulphide, particularly during decomposition.
When household waste, particularly human excrement, is disposed of in water containing marine life, it contaminates the organisms that feed on it, rendering it unfit for human consumption. Some diseased conditions may also be caused in livestock, such as cattle, when they consume food contaminated with human feces containing tapeworm eggs.
184.108.40.206 Agricultural Activity
This includes the use of men to till the soil for crop husbandry and keep animals. As the human population grows, agricultural activities become more intensive in order to meet the growing food demand of the growing population. Due to a scarcity of virgin forest for cultivation, this intensified farming has resulted in a continuous cropping of the sea piece of land over time.
It has also meant growing one crop on a large amount of land where the crop species thrives. This has resulted in an increase in the number of pests, animals, and diseases attacking such crops, as well as a rapid depletion of the nutrients available to the crop on such soil. To address the problems, man’s response was to apply various chemicals such as pesticides, fumigates, and inorganic fertilizers to such farms.
Pesticides, in addition to being harmful to humans when inhaled or ingested, have other negative effects on the environment. Furthermore, once the necessary nutrients have been taken up by the soil, the remaining fertilizer may cause the soil to become acidic, rendering it unsuitable for crop cultivation.
Agriculture has also exacerbated the occurrence of other environmental hazards such as erosion and desertification by removing soil cover through tillage and overgrazing of land. It also destroys the structure, rendering the land unfit for other uses.
Many useful products can be obtained from the natural forest. It is home to a variety of wild animals, which provide bush meat and other products for humans. The wood from the trees is used as a fuel source as well as for furniture and other purposes.
The forest also acts as a windbreak and vegetation cover, protecting the soil from erosion. More importantly, the forest plays an important role in the precipitation process as well as the important “carbon circle,” a break in which man’s existence is threatened.
The rapid destruction of the forest due to farming and other human activities is causing significant environmental damage by depriving it of the important roles that the forest plays in the ecosystem’s stabilization.
220.127.116.11 Game Hunting and Excess Fishing
A chain exists in the natural food cycle to ensure that the ecosystem maintains equilibrium. This prevents some organisms from becoming overpopulated and others from becoming extinct. However, due to man’s continued hunting of some animals for food and other purposes, their populations are nearly extinct, denying the environment the benefit of their natural roles in the ecosystem.
The African elephant is under threat of extinction, prompting the World Wildlife Fund to launch a campaign to stop it from being hunted.
Commercial Activities 18.104.22.168
Men engage in a variety of commercial activities, particularly with the advancement of technology and transportation, and as a result, many advertisements such as billboards, handbills, and so on litter the environment, which is an eyesore to other nations. Furthermore, the various commercial transactions generate a large amount of waste, which has a negative impact on the environment. Specifically, indiscriminate use and disposal of cellophane bags.
The advancement of scientific knowledge has resulted in the industrialization of society with the goal of making man’s life more comfortable by producing the majority of those goods efficiently and in sufficient quantity. This has resulted in the expansion of many industries that generate waste that is harmful to the environment.
When toxic emissions from industries that burn fuels and even motors are inhaled, they have devastating effects on the life farm. Acid rain is a nightmare for those who live near industries that emit some toxic emissions. Untreated industrial waste effluent discharged into streams has been known to kill marine life and damage crops irrigated with water from such streams.
Waste from substances such as mercury and its compounds has an impact on the lives of humans, plants, and animals. The extent of mercury’s dangers was realized by the Japanese in 1986, when one industry processing methyl mercury discharged its waste into a lake, killing thousands of villagers who ate lake fish.
Their women gave birth to deformed children, and poisonous gas leakages have had lethal consequences. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the poisonous gas leakage from the union carbide cooperation.
With industrialization and urbanization, many people are flocking to cities in search of greener pastures. This causes a population explosion in those areas, which increases the amount of waste produced and other activities that harm the environment.
As a result, carbon dioxide and other hazardous gases are released into the urban atmosphere. Because of the dense population, there is enough land for everyone. As a result, various shanks are constructed on the open spaces to serve as accommodation. These not only pollute the environment, but they may also cause soil erosion where channels are blocked.
Power Station (22.214.171.124)
These include hydroelectric power plants, thermal power plants, and nuclear power plants. The vibration produced by these stations is so great that it disturbs the environment and causes inconveniences around such sites. There are many radioactive materials on nuclear sites that take many years to degrade. Accidents at nuclear power plants can occur, resulting in significant loss of life and property.
The devastation caused by atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, is a gruesome reminder of the Second World War. The most recent chemical disaster in Russia in 1986 devastated a 16-kilometer arching of the environment surrounding the nuclear reactor site.
However, there are no longer any life forms, flora, or fauna in the area, and many people and livestock, even in the neighboring country, were exposed to an unprecedented level of reaction and either died or had to be destroyed.
126.96.36.199 Pollution from Petroleum
Petroleum, a priced commodity, has been used in the industrialization of the world. However, the commodity’s exploitation has had numerous negative effects on the environment. Petroleum pollution is a common occurrence, particularly in the area where it is found.
Oil spills occur, which frequently pollute rivers, streams, and farmland, rendering them unfit for biotic life. During the transportation process, oil pollution has occurred in the high seas due to an accident or a problem with the vessel transporting the oil. It is estimated that over 3.5 million tons of oil are released into the world’s oceans each year.
There have been numerous reports of oil pollution in Nigeria. On the 17th of December 1980, there was a Texaco funiwa, fire oil blow out in Nigeria in the Niger-Delta, and it was curtailed after 30 days of conflict fire, for some hours, about 200, 000 barrels of oil were lost far villages including fishes in the town of funiwa and segama river were polluted and 350 hectares of land were destroyed.
On November 2, 1982, a pale loader belonging to Bronelli Construction Company accidentally ripped a hole in the Nigeria National Petroleum Cooperation (NNPC) under ground corche oil pipe line, resulting in the Abudo oil pipeline spillage. The oil flowed from it to nearly villages, polluting their land and water, causing crop failure and drying up, as well as the death of marine life and soils.
Another oil spill occurred in July 1984 at Upheli from a field, which took six days to clean up after polluting neighboring rivers and villages. Another example is the koko incident, which occurred in Delta State in June 1988 when 3,888 tons of assorted toxic waste from Italy were discovered illegally dumped at the fishing ports of koko lea cheats, causing extensive ecological damage.
Further long-term deterioration of the village’s health is still feared. There was also the Jesse fire disaster on October 17th, 1998, which claimed over 100 lives and destroyed over 100 homes. Also on January 12, 1999, the idotio spillage in Akwa-Ibom State occurred, affecting twenty communities across states, and there had been reported cases of oil pipe leakage throughout the country, causing massive destruction to the environment and lives.
Flaring of natural gas has resulted in an increase in the temperature of gas-producing communities and the destruction of biotic life, as seen in Nigeria’s Niger Delta. War, irrigation, and drainage are other man-made sources of environmental degradation.
The fundamental causes of environmental degradation discussed above, however, are not exhaustive, demonstrating that the onus is on individuals to protect their environment. As a result, environmental awareness is a necessary prerequisite for attaching environmental protection.
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