Imagining the Future Nigeria: Sanitation & Climate Change.

Please share with others.

One could begin with the scrupulous cleaning of the pedestrian bridge, the presence of less and less garbage dumped for passing eyes to see. One might even begin with the flourescent LED lights arrayed down the alleys of our streets. When we asked, the installers said they were energy-saving. Everything seemed to have taken a New Order.

On evenings, whenever I take a walk downtown, middle-aged boys from the shanties always catch my sight in absolute awe. They would move around in seperate unit groups picking, into big kenaf sacks, plastics and other non-biodegradables. Their why was obvious. People allover, even market women, appeared to have become quite environmentally-conscious. Once, three market women coerced me to picking nylon wraps I had dropped. Not that markets were clean yet, but they were impressive enough for any passing eye.

Estimations of doubled plastic production, of tripled plastic pollution, of quadrupled climatic change and of massive flooding projected decades ago were generally wide of the mark. Nigerian leaders have been sitting – in the past few years – over round tables discussing, contemplating on which legal framework to adopt for sustainability.

At home, they put down policies after policies, organised campaigns after campaigns. And we, everyday, woke up to new norms. No more felling trees for firewood. No more dumping in open landfills. No leaving plugs in socket when not in use. No more littering.

Once in a while, I watch as students return from school with tree seedlings strapped to the side of their bags. When they reach home, they happily recited recitals to their parents. Pundits, too, pundited. We understood the crux of their argument – that if we fail individually to continue to let our drops in the bucket, Nigeria will be 70 to 80 percent more prone to environmental hazards.

FEPA officials never stopped coming around. They spoke through large speakers. And when they ask us in calming tones, “is it the Government or we that are really builders of this nation’s eternity?” We let our heads nod.

is it the Government or we that are really builders of this nation’s eternity?

Consequently, Nigeria recorded many successes: about 10 000 000 trees saved from indiscriminate felling, 45 million tonnes of plastic waste recycled, 55.5% drop in Greenhouse Gases emission.

We knew it was this spirit – of small people making big differences, of small actions before big differences – that brought Nigeria out of the muck. We did not know, however, that this spirit would quickly spread to other disgruntled sectors of the Nigerian economy.

Please share with others.

Leave a Reply