UNDERSTANDING OUR ENVIRONMENT
The Environment means our surrounding. It includes air, water, land, plants and animals, mountains, structures including buildings etc with man at the center playing a major role. Akaaka,2006. The environment is everything you can see surrounding you. According to Federal Environmental Protection Agency decree of 1988 “Environment which means our surrounding includes the air, Land, water all plants and human beings living therein and their interrelationship existing among them.” The environment according to the council of Europe Convention of Civil Liability for Damage Result from Activities dangerous to the Environment of 21st June 1993 is “Natural resources both biotic and abiotic, such as air, water, soil, fauna and flora and the interaction between the same factors; properly which forms part of the cultural heritage and the characteristic aspect of the land.
The environment is all that which surrounds life and the effective factor which affects the Ecosystem and the ecology. The environment is our life support system. It includes everything we rely on during our life time such as air, water rock including the oil etc. life cannot exist without GOOD PROTECTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT. Our environment is made up of four components. These four components are the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and the lithosphere.
The atmosphere is an envelope of gases that wrapped the earth, the hydrosphere is the water bodies, the biosphere is the sphere of the living organism and the lithosphere is the Land comprising the soil, rocks etc and the structures on it.
THE STATE AND CRY OF THE ENVIRONMENT
Every day, our environment is crying loud to every human on earth to mind the way they use and abuse it. It’s crying to us to use her well so that it can be of benefit to us today and to our children tomorrow. We all need the environment to survive but the environment does not really need us. It can do without us but we cannot do without it.
The state of our environment is influenced by our activities. Man’s activities can pollute the environment or protect it. In recent time man’s activities on the environment since the industrial revolution has increased and these has increased the level of pollution to a scale, which now frighten the whole world. Man’s activities have led to global warming resulting in flooding, coastal subsidence and drought etc. Man’s activities have led to water pollution (both surface & ground water) resulting in water borne and other organ sicknesses, diseases and death to man himself, the aquatic and even the non aquatic organism and reduction in water quality. Man’s activities have led to air pollution resulting to different form of respiratory and other organ sicknesses, diseases and death, damage to structures etc. Man’s activities has also led to land pollution resulting to land degradation, deforestation, desert encroachments, erosion and flooding, soil infertility and low agricultural yields etc. These various activities of man, their environmental pollution type and the effects on the environment including health effects shall be examined in subsequent episode.
We pollute our environment in different ways. The environment is crying to us to change our ways and negative attitude towards it because our existence and health even our life depend on it but many of us has continuously paid deaf ear to its cries.
A woman that dump her waste in the drain/gutter of her frontage probably thought she has gotten rid of it cheaply, unknown to her that waste can lead to the blockage of the drain resulting to flood that will destroy her house and property tomorrow. She could have prevented the damage if she had gone to the approved designate waste dump to dispose her waste properly.
A young man felling trees illegally without thinking of replanting them but his mind is focus on the immediate monetary gain, unknown to him; those trees he fell may expose the top soil to erosion leading to soil infertility and low yield. Also the felling of trees can reduce wind brake that will result to blowing off of his house roof during strong wind and thunderstorm and not only that there will be increased in air pollution due to lack of trees to absorb the CO2. Who loosed at the end? The young man of course because he will have to look for money to get the soil fertilized, solve the erosion problems and repair the blown off roof and find ways of cleaning the air and that is if he is still financially buoyant and healthy enough to do all that.
A battery charger who has refused to use his/her personal protective equipment and work following the safety rules may think that it doesn’t matter, the PPE and the safety rules is waste of time may one day broke down after he had in haled the lead above the maximum permissible level and come up with bone or other organs diseases like kidney diseases may attribute the cause to witches and wizards not knowing that the cause was himself and so many innocent people have been wrongly accused in time past but thank God for the knowledge of environmental pollution today.
Today, the knowledge from environmental pollution and occupational toxicology studies has revealed so many strange ailments that can be traced to environmental pollution. Some people may have run mad due to exposure to mercury contaminated environment as in the case of Minamata, Japan between 1932 -1968 where about 2000 people suffered from various form of mental diseases doe to exposure to mercury polluted environment. Other diseases like cancer, bones, kidney, respiratory and other organ diseases has been linked to exposure to polluted environment caused by man’s activities.
So how are you handling your environment? Is your activities protecting it or polluting it. Remember your existence; health and even your life depend on it. Use it well today to benefit you so that your children can also see it to use tomorrow for their benefit.
ABIFADE .R. SUNDAY- EHIOKIOYA BSc(Ed)Biology, PGD Envt Tech, M.Phil Envit Mgt, MILC, MEMAN, MNES,
Tel: 08037059137, 08185770370, Email [email protected], Port Harcourt, Nigeria.