By Mpakaboari Numbere
Man’s environment has been a contemporary issue overtime, the human environment may be considered as the planetary space that borders human movement, work and perhaps interactions and habitations such as towns, villages, settlements and accessible virgin area.
It is the set of biological and physical facts in space as modified by man. Man’s interaction with his environment has portrayed man as a powerful agent of spatial change, even though man himself undergoes temporal change.
It can be said that man and the environment were created to interact with each other on balance basis. While the natural environment is to create a fair decent shelter and to provide food supplements including economic resources, man on other hand is supposed to care and protect the environment from destructive tendencies.
However, man in his attempt to conquer his environment and to exhibit complete dominance over his environment has exploited the environment to a point of near irreparable devastation.
Within the last 100 years, man has surpassed the dominant natural forces that have shaped his physical environment, resulting to problems such as of global warming, sea-level change, acidification, salination, and environmental pollution, reduction in biodiversity, ecological imbalance (biodiversity loss), and endangering of human survival.
The biosphere is being damaged as a result of illicit activities of man. As a result of such activities like housing and construction, mining, agriculture, industry, fishing, and many more, man has unavoidably produced thousands of pollutants and discharges from factories, vehicular emissions, engines etc. Pollutants of carbon and its oxides, hydrocarbons, nitrogen-oxides, sulphur-oxides, particles and particulate matter causing respiratory maladies, and spread of cardiovascular diseases. An estimate by the WHO indicates that at least 3.0 million people die every year due to illnesses caused by pollution.
On the other hand, the environment either through natural processes or human recalcitrant activities has turn to affect the life of man through flooding, rainstorms, earthquakes, volcano, erratic rainfall, heavy winds, crop failures etc. Environmentally related diseases such as malaria, cholera, diarrhoea, and many others, are the influence of environmental pollution.
In order to raise awareness about protecting the environment, every year June 5 is celebrated as World Environment Day as has been designated by the United Nations (UN). The day also enables one to be more responsible in the way they conduct themselves and treat the environment.
As the world celebrates the 2018 World Environment Day with focus on Beating Plastic Pollution, somewhere on the continent of Africa, the story is different and residents would wish plastic pollution can be the order of the day as it is a lesser evil compared to the suffering and near environmental deterioration they have experienced and still experiencing.
Residents of the oil rich Niger-Delta region have for years lived with all manner of environmental hazards which has rendered farm lands degraded, underground and surface water unusable, and reduced air quality which can be directly linked to crude oil exploitation. These range from massive oil spills to acid rains from gas flaring and the proliferation of illegal refineries. At the centre of all these is the complacent rule by Government agencies with its unwillingness to attend to the environmental plight of the region.
The problem has now been complicated with the new phenomenon of black soot which started getting noticed a little over two years ago. Residents of Port Harcourt in particular wake up most mornings to find films of black dusty substances all over their rooms, clothes and domestic utensils. These confirmed hydrocarbon substances have been traced to the activities of expatriate companies that operate with machines that emit high degrees of hydrocarbon which comes down as soot rain. They have made life less abundant for the people because farmlands, fishing resources and even sources of drinkable water have been severely polluted.
Today, while the world targets to cut down plastic pollution, it will be timely for the us to look towards protecting the Niger Delta environment by not just refusing what we cannot reuse but to also work in synergy in cutting down black soot because our Environment might be one of the most important treasures we have.
Possibly, a good knowledge of man and his environment is crucial in a bid to balance the complexity of interactions that exist between man and his environment. In any case, the pace of change in the context of any environment is enhanced by increase in population, advanced and exploitative technology, urbanization, and the characteristics of today are results of the continues changing conditions from the past. We must therefore, observe, study and understand the sophisticated relationship that exists between man and the environment as this might probably enable us re-design and restructure this relationship to facilitate a mutual benefit for both sides, otherwise, either side (man or environment) will not be able to contained the other in the near future.
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