Nigeria is not alone in the types of pollution that it is plagued with, particularly when it comes to developing nations. What is troubling is the manner in which this environmental crisis has been dealt with, even up to recent times. Nigeria has seen its share of political strife, due to being controlled for the most part by military regimes. Even the current president, some would argue, is an army general masking as a democratic president for the sake of international acceptance. The political situation and the corruption that has long plagued the country is the central difficulty that has prevented any gains in the area of environmental protection.
Pollution finds its way into every area of the Nigerian ecosystem through water pollution, urban air pollution, burning of toxic wastes and significant oil spills.
Water pollution is prevalent due to the improper handling of sewage, even in the most populated cities. There are 221 cubic kilometers of renewable water resources in this country. Safe drinking water is reported to be available to 78% of the urban population, and 49% of the rural population (1). However, Lagos, with a population of more than 12 million, does not have a central sewage system; but rather, all waste is emptied into a lagoon (6). This same lagoon and the sea around it is the source for most of the fish that the city consumes.
Breathing clean air is also a major issue in this country, particularly in the major city centres. Air pollution is defined as the presence in the indoor or outdoor atmosphere of one or more gaseous or particulate contaminants in quantities, characteristics and of durations such as to be injurious to human, plant or animal life which interferes with enjoyment of life (5). Clean air has been substantially damaged in this country’s environment, especially in the Niger Delta Region due to the population explosion, lack of environmental regulations, the growth of the oil industry and desertification...