ENVIRONMENTAL INTEGRITY IN NIGERIA AND CHALLENGE OF CRUDE OIL THEFT. A RESEARCH PROJECT MATERIAL ON ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE
What is Environmental Integrity?
In an attempt to understand the meaning of the phrase â€œenvironmental integrityâ€, this paper, shall attempt to separate the phrase to enable it arrive at a definition.
While the phrase â€œEnvironmentalâ€ concerns with the environment; connected with the natural conditions in which people, animals and plant liveâ€ . The term integrity connotes uprightness, honesty, purity entireness, wholeness; the unimpaired state of anything .Â Given the above meanings to the phrase, it follows that environmental integrity is the retainment of the pure state, the unimpaired state of the natural conditions in which people, animals and plant live in all human endeavours.
Environmental integrity has also been defined as the sustenance of important biophysical processes which support plant and animal life and which must be allowed to continue without significant change. The objective is to assure the continued health of essential life support systems of nature, including air, water, and soil by protecting the resistance, diversity and purity of natural communities (ecosystems) within the environment.
Stricto senso, environmental integrity paints a picture of an environment void of all forms of pollution from all polluting sources, which are basically the making of human activities in its quest for survival ranging from pollution from industries, homes, etc.
This means that human survival and development cannot exist without pollution and because this state is unattainable, i.e. (humans cannot just still and await death) the concept of environmental integrity will now mean an effort by humans to maintain a sustainability of environmental resources of the environment in all aspects of its activities through its conducts, applicability of its working tools and through regulations applied in such a way as to improve all the components of the environment and not to degrade same.
ENVIRONMENTAL INTEGRITY IN NIGERIA
Flowing from the above definition of what environmental integrity connotes, the question that arises is what is the state of environment in Nigeria?Â How Environmental integrity maintained in Nigeria?Â In the quest for economic development, Nigeria veered in industrialization at independence.
The first decade (1960 â€“ 1970) of Nigeriaâ€™s independence witnessed government plan to promote growth of industries in order to contribute directly to economic growth and national development. In the 1970â€™s two of the most applauded goals of the national development plans were:
- Increase in self reliance in the supply of industrial products and factor inputs.
- Develop and support small and medium scale industries and their contribution to manufacturing .
In 1990s, the government targeted, among others:
- Domestication of industrial processes and enhancement of economic efficiency; and
- Increase in capacity utilization in the industrial sector, employment generation and poverty alleviation.
In the new millennium, the thrust is privatization and commercialization, employment generation and poverty eradication.
Overall, government pursues national economic development through growth of industries through continuous research in science and technology, development of new product, high quality standard in industrial goods and services, ability to produce building capacity to successfully face challenges of competition and increase in taste.
As successive Nigerian governments also established and invested in industries, so industrial economic development also assaulted and degraded the Nigerian environment.
The government focused on maximum exploitation of natural resources for rapid economic development with scant regard for resource conservation and sustainability.Â Environmental and social consequences of envisaged projects were ignored.Â Industrial activities, usually carried out in Nigeria with weak legal framework and regulation infrastructure, led to pollution of water resources, destruction of fauna and flora, health hazards and deterioration of health quality, air and noise pollution, as well as destruction of traditional economic infrastructures within communities tasking some of these high powered investments.