Stop these earth attacks!
As a well-rated happy nation that would ordinarily, gleefully, mark today April 22, 2016 being “World Earth Day”, let’s take some time to consider this story. In a suburb of Lagos resides Haruna, a mechanical technician who specialises in Japanese auto-engines. Haruna practises his trade elaborately at the frontage of his residence.
Also found scattered and littering the little available space are dismembered iron car parts dotting everywhere, disused or dysfunctional engine blocks left idly at various spots smeared all over in thick grease, others in spent, black oil, dripping occasionally to an already soiled ground!
Years of practice of Haruna’s trade have no doubt left some indelible, tell-tale trade-mark signs, inscribed forming a permanent scar on the environment and mother-earth. Haruna’s frontage “workshop” leaves desertification injury to the hitherto fertile soil.
Apart from the three companies situated around Haruna’s house which on their own are specimens and spectacles to behold for profound earth attacks, Adijat, Haruna’s wife, is also guilty as charged. As a thriving operator of a “bukateria”, providing services for her husband’s numbered clientele and many more, Adijat cooks year round on a local tripartite stone stove, fuelled daily with wood, and constantly emitting teary, and lungs-endangering smoky fire for the larger part of the day. She also has an unenviable garbage dump-heap located at the rear part of their home, which seems never to be out of fire, neither does it seem to diminish in size due to their vile habits of daily contributions of wastes.
Adijat’s list of wastes includes nylon of food wraps, disposed nylon sachets of pure water, empty plastic bottles of soft drinks and bottled water, etc. The cumulative effects of these affronts on nature and the environment can only be left to be imagined.
Also, the activities of the three companies around Haruna’s house are nothing other than catastrophe in waiting. To the right of Haruna’s building, which works three shifts, is a big and centrally located chimney constantly oozing out black and sometimes choky and offensive fumes/smoke demonstrating a profound attack on the environment.
The 1000KVA transformer installed by the company and co-shared by the community, informs of the residents’ indebtedness and loyalty to the company. They bother less about the company’s discomforting activities. Information even has it that some notable people in the community, including Haruna and some government officials, receive regular tips to garner continued support for the company at the expense of its cold, brutal but silent war against nature and the environment.
With the company’s twin heavy duty, gigantic 1500KVA capacity generator, each switched on to interchangeably power the plant whenever the epileptic supply from the National Grid is unavailable, the double pollution of noise and smoke altogether are alarmingly offensive. Of serious concern then is the generator, spewing out poisonous gas (carbon monoxide) with reckless abandon into the environment, year round with the exception of Sundays, and at year ends, with the company’s annual vacation of few days, that was rigorously attained through years of struggle by the Workers’ Union.
Same ugly scenarios and environmental degradation are replicated with the activities of the paint factory behind Haruna’s street along with the malting plant near it, both on the road towards the valley over-looking the river. The two companies have smartly channelled their waste, of concentrated dye, chemicals and oil solutions and voluminous fermented waste waters respectively all untreated, directly into the drainage gutter jointly constructed by them leading into the river. This Greek-gift is well-received by the community with utmost delight without bothering on its attending negative implications especially on nature and the environment.
From all of the foregoing, sordid pictures of an unimaginable level of environmental degradation have occurred, while still ongoing. It has now become pertinent for us all to make efforts to put a final stop to this; otherwise, Doomsday is at hand. However, we need to first ask ourselves a pertinent question: How did we get to this present predicament? And, what possible solutions are available for us to possibly resolve the situation once and for all?
We as a country did not get into this unfortunate quagmire overnight. The barrage of attacks to mother earth are as a result of our collective lack of will to do what is right and needful, at the right time, and the right place by individuals, corporate bodies and the government.
It has become necessary for government to put in place proper legislation to strengthen the operations of its agencies like the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA) and the National Conservative Foundation (NCF), to be able to effectively prosecute erring offenders both corporate and individuals.
Also, the counterpart or partners in Europe, Asia and all over the world that connive with some of our unscrupulous importers to dump substandard goods or in some cases toxic waste into Africa, like the inhuman case of toxic waste dumped in Koko Delta State, Nigeria should all note that we all live in a global village now. Whatever affects one part will eventually get to affect other parts one day, one way or the other.
Again the government must in its drive of education for all include in its curriculum relevant information on sustenance of nature. Also through its agencies responsible for public enlightenment and orientation, government should sensitise people from the urban to rural areas, on activities that can sustain nature. Particularly information of activities that replete the ozone layer such as planting of trees and activities that depletes the ozone layer such as bush burning, cutting of trees, etc should be well publicised for people to be well informed.
Generally, government should immediately put in place a good town planning initiative for each community, and the review of old ones, to comply with changes, expansion, and population growth. A proper structured town planning of cities, villages, etc, that is well conceived and executed should make provisions for well expanded roads, adequate drainages, provision for electricity taking into cognizance population growth and expansion, provision of play and recreation grounds, markets, the building of clusters of standard garages for technicians, studios for craftsmen, and theatre villages/cities for artists, adequate public toilets, health centres, potable water, farm settlements, standard laboratory centres for research and development, adequate provision of incinerators and waste-to-wealth centres, dump sites, at proper locations, etc.
• Awoyemi who lives in Iyesi, Ota Ogun State, can be reached on timiawoyemi.blogspot.com.ng
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