By EKAIWE IGINUA OSEMWEKHA
16TH of September every year is a day set aside by UNESCO for creating awareness of the need to preserve the ozone layer. Ozone layers could be defined as a natural habitat designed by God to moderate the heat of the sun from damaging the world eco system.
The depletion of ozone layer in the past had led to climate warming, sea over flowing leading to Tsunami and other world ecological degradation.
Consequently, there is a growing awareness of environmental problems and the realisation that unless we take pragmatic steps to safeguard the planet earth, it still no longer be capable of sustaining life as it has done for millions of years.
The disastrous effects of America attack on Japan Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the Second World War and the Russian nuclear accident at Chenobe and the Indian pesticide leakage that have claimed the lives of so many people are the apex of the world ozone layer attacks.
Oil spillages in countries endowed with crude have made headline news. People are becoming more apprehensive about the quality of water they consume on daily basis due to acid rain occasioned by gas flaring.
They are also concerned about the effects of car exhaust on their children and the disappearance of local wildlife habitats.
The result of these concerns has being to apply pressure on government to take action, and on business and other organization to clean up their act and improve environmental performance, pressure from public opinion therefore takes a variety of forms starting with buyers of products popularly known as customers they are daily increasing their environmental consciousness. Consequently, they are now selecting their mode of purchases in production and services. They like to identify with goods that are packaged biodegradable or recyclable. People now prefer to patronize washing powders that do not constitute toxic materials in water or the environment as well as consuming petrol that is devoid of lead poison.
In the U.K. the government promotes consumer information to encourage the manufacture and distribution of products which are less environmentally harmful and more energy co-efficient.
The three tiers of government in Nigeria can borrow a leaf from the U.K. by urging the nation’s environmental agencies to formulate a plan of action that will boost environmental protection.
In response to popular customer demand therefore, many countries are introducing labelling standard to give the consumers a measure of the environmental credentials of products.
Whether a business manufacture goods and processes or provide services, its customers are likely to demand to know about its environmental policy.
People who bought shares in companies want to be absolutely sure that their input is well protected. Questions are being asked on daily basis concerning the environmental impact of companies they have invested. To ignore concerns about the environment could lead to loss of business share. Government could enforce stringent penalties for failing to meet the prescribed environmental friendly standard while good environmental management encourages efficiency through less waste of energy and resources.
Therefore, financial investors, banks and insurers too need to assess the risks and the long term viability of companies they invest in.
However, business partners have a part to play for a form to keep an excellent record of environmental performance, it is important for the companies with which it does business to understand its stipulated environmental policies and should be able to respond according to this direction. In this regard, cooperation and a compatible approach can lead to improvement all around.
In addition, the ability to attract good employees, their productivity and commitment can be enhanced if a company present a positive environmental image and keeps its staff informed and involved in environmental improvements.
The neighbourhood communities, local government authorities, “N.G.O”, and the local media are all supposed to make an impact in sensitizing the companies in their area of the need to be environmental friendly.
Neighbourhood watch can influence the performance of a company through its attitude to planning applications. For instance, maintaining and communicating a good environmental performance can have significant business added value.
To crown it all, pressure groups can solicit support from members of the public by publicising environmental concerns and staging campaigns on specific objectives. This will positively have an impact on the environmental policies of national and local governments’ parastatals. This can also put pressure on companies with poor environmental records to tow the way of an acceptable level of environmental protection.
In the face of daunting challenges confronting the universal eco-system and bio-diversity occasioned by gas flaring, oil spillages and nuclear accident, more pragmatic steps have to be adopted by UNESCO to reduce the menace.
The campaign of addressing the issue of protecting the ozone layers should not be left to urban centres rather the government should be able to disseminate information to the rural dwellers.