Towards Sustainable Environment


Humanity paused a while last Wednesday to commemorate this year’s World Environment Day (WED). Observed since 1974, the United Nations (UN) specially set aside every June 5 annually to arouse and sensitize international public consciousness on environment-related issues that affect mankind.
Observed in 100 countries worldwide, the WED provides the necessary platform for environmental advocacy and the inevitable and paramount necessity to protect the environment.
The import of the event is largely to foster synergy at local, national and international levels toward ensuring sustainable environment for present and future generations.
In accordance with the UN declaration, a theme is usually chosen for each year to draw global attention to critical environment challenges and realities.
In other words, nothing else could be more apt and appropriate than this year’s theme: “Air Pollution and the Environment”. The theme, indeed, affects the global community as air pollution affects both developed and developing nations of the world, particularly developing countries such as Nigeria which is yet to take concrete and pro-active actions and policies aimed at mitigating the effects of air pollution on the citizenry.
More worrisome is the case of Niger Delta region, especially Rivers State, where the issue of soot has ravaped the environment in the past few years, resulting mainly from hydro-carbon activities of oil and gas companies but later worsened by illegal refining otherwise called “Kpo-fire” in local parlance.
With the attendant effects on human health notably cancer, lungs, skin related ailments, among other hazards, government, especially at the federal level, appears not to muster enough political will to squarely address the soot challenge ravaging Rivers State and beyond.
The much-desired synergy between federal, state and local government authorities to address the soot challenge, from all indications, is just not there.
It is pertinent to underscore the fact that man depends on his environment to live and should he ignore nature, it is at his peril. The inevitability for mankind, therefore, is to protect and preserve his environment.
Essentially, the eco-system-water including, plants and other creatures of nature, exists to protect and sustain man. Thus, a responsible exploitation and preservation of these natural endowments remains the sine-qua-non for man’s continuous existence.
Regrettably, man’s actions on another earth appear to care less for his environment but rather tend to suit his immediate gains without due regard for its long-term effects on humanity. This is not the path to follow!
Quite frankly, governments at all levels, ostensibly lack the willpower to tackle environmental issues squarely. Gas flaring, domestic bush burning and industrial waste disposal, soot, Ogoni clean-up and even Niger Delta environment remediation are among critical challenges begging for proactive measures.
Over the centuries, studies have shown that man has looked only at himself alone, recognized only the human community and exploited everything around him to serve only community, all at the detriment of his environment. Researches, however, have since shown that human community cannot stand or be sustained in without sustainable environment.
The Tide is, indeed, saddened by the fact that all laws and timelines set by the federal government to stop gas flaring, which is a major cause of air pollution, have been flagrantly disobeyed by the oil and gas companies with little or no sanctions against the culprits or erring companies.
This year’s WED theme, therefore, provides another ample opportunity to remind the Muhammadu Buhari administration that the time to put a final stop to gas flaring is now.