The Devastating Effects of Environmental Degradation

Topics: Environmentalism, Pollution, Natural environment Pages: 16 (5857 words) Published: March 6, 2013
The Devastating Effects of Environmental Degradation - A Case Study of the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria Angela Kesiena ETUONOVBE, Nigeria Key words: Environment, Degradation, Pollution, Economy, Health. SUMMARY In Nigeria, like many developing nations, the resultant environmental problems are legion: aggravated soil erosion, flood disasters, salinization or alkalisation, and the desertification due to the effects of shifting agriculture on fragile soils, forest clearing in erosion prone and floodprone areas, bush burning, animal over-grazing and poor construction and maintenance of roads and irrigation system; pollution of water, air and land due to improper disposal of domestic and industrial wastes; pollution through oil spillage; pollution from noise; proliferation of slums in urban areas, unsanitary and unsafe housing; congestion of traffic and houses in urban areas and lack of open spaces for active outdoor recreation. All these affect human well-being (the most affected groups are women and children) especially the health and socio-economic well being of the people of the Niger Delta in Nigeria in particular and in the world as a whole. Therefore, this paper highlights the dimensions, nature and characteristics of these phenomena. And further examines the implications of the environmental degradation on the health and socio-economic well-being of the people of the Niger Delta.

1/14 TS 1D – Environment and Land Use Planning Angela K. Etuonovbe The Devastating Effects of Environmental Degradation - A Case Study of the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria FIG Working Week 2009 Surveyors Key Role in Accelerated Development Eilat, Israel, 3–8 May, 2009

The Devastating Effects of Environmental Degradation - A Case Study of the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria Angela Kesiena ETUONOVBE, Nigeria 1. ENVIRONMENT The Oxford Advanced Learner’s English Dictionary of Current English defines environment as conditions, circumstances, etc affecting people’s lives. It is the complex of physical, chemical and biotic factors that acts upon an organism or an ecological community and ultimately determines its form and survival (Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol. 4). Viewing the human environment from the economic point, Odiette (1993) describes it as natural, capital and analogous to financial capital assets. In this case, any damage done to the environment runs down capital, which sooner or later reduces the value of its recurrent services. 2. DEGRADATION Environmental degradation is the deterioration of the environment through depletion of resources such as air, water, and soil, the destruction of ecosystems and the extinction of wildlife.(Wikipedia) When the environment becomes less valuable or damaged, environmental degradation is said to occur. There are many forms of environmental degradation. When habitats are destroyed, biodiversity is lost, or natural resources are depleted, the environment is hurt. Environmental degradation can occur naturally, or through human processes. The largest areas of concern at present are the loss of rain forest, air pollution and smog, ozone depletion, and the destruction of the marine environment. Pollution is occurring all over the world and poisoning the planet's oceans. Even in remote areas, the effects of marine degradation are obvious. In some areas, the natural environment has been exposed to hazardous waste. In other places, major disasters such as oil spills have ruined the local environment. 3. HUMAN ACTIVITIES ON THE ENVIRONMENT Human activities and the environment are inter-related. This is because any activity of man is done in the environment and the resultant effect is either positive or negative to man. Human activities are diverse. According to Uchegbu (1998), negative effects or man arise from these economic and domestic activities. For instance, agriculture requires pesticides that pollute the atmosphere or enter drainage system via run off and sewers. Other activities which lead to...
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