World Environment Day 2023: Protecting Nigeria’s ecosystem


For every June 5, countries and organisations all around the globe celebrate World Environment Day with a theme that suggests igniting environmental problems and proffer solutions in our ecosystems.

This year’s WED comes with a powerful theme, “Beat Plastic Pollution,” in a reminder that people’s actions on plastic pollution matters and a way of focusing on solutions to plastic pollution under the campaign #BeatPlasticPollution.

Reports revealed that more than 400 million tonnes of plastic is produced every year, half of which is designed to be used only once. Of that, less than 10 per cent is recycled. An estimated 19-23 million tonnes end up in lakes, rivers and seas. Today, plastic clogs our landfills, leaches into the ocean and is combusted into toxic smoke, making it one of the gravest threats to the planet.

In Nigeria, air pollution reduction can be made by improving access to clean household energy by transitioning to cleaner cookstoves and solar lighting. There are also opportunities in transport, the oil and gas industry, agriculture, and by improving municipal solid waste management.

With less than five per cent of the landmass in Nigeria afforested, the government is stepping up its efforts to do more to protect the country’s ecosystem, including the natural habitat for this African country’s wildlife. While the government has been neglectful in the past, there is fresh hope for change. A growing awareness of the importance of afforestation vis-a-vis human well-being and ecological balance has taken root.

However, protecting our environment is the foundation for sustaining our planet, community, and economy. Our environment supports and houses our ecosystems, allowing them to grow and thrive. If we fail to protect our environment, we will put the lives of humans, animals, plants, and more at risk.

Not only that, what is less known is that microplastics find their way into the food we eat, the water we drink and even the air we breathe. Many plastic products contain hazardous additives, which may pose a threat to our health.

The good news is that we have science and solutions to tackle the problem – and a lot is already happening. What is needed most now is a surge of public and political pressure to scale up and speed actions from governments, companies and other stakeholders to solve this crisis. This underscores the importance of this WED mobilizing action from every corner of the world.

While it is becoming increasingly evident that environmental problems such as climate change and global warming constitute existential threats to human societies, these problems will very likely persist and even intensify unless governments enact effective and potentially costly environmental policies.

However, the public sector should be actively involved in the protection of our environment as this will create a formidable and serene environment where bussineses will thrive in the country. By so doing, many investors; local and foreign will definitely be part of the development.

A nation where the players in public sector is not fully concerned with the protection of the country’s environment will end up in  total shambles.

People in the private sector, including corporations, investors, industry interest groups, and philanthropists have engaged in sustainability policy and practice in three main ways: actively blocking action on environmental and social issues; partnering with governments and other stakeholders to advance sustainable development; and working to transform the systems that have led to climate change and unsustainability, particularly growth-based economic models.

Environmentalists often advocate an unfriendly approach to environmental risk management that takes into account all of the environmental burdens associated with every phase in a product’s lifecycle, and generally favours changes in the production process over end-of-pipe measures, containment, dispersal or remediation.

A cleaner environment is no doubt, a way of achieving a shift towards greater economic efficiency and higher production levels, while also keeping down environmental burdens. As with pro-poor public-private partnerships, however, this hope will not be easy to realise.

This year’s World Environment Day will be supported by the Government of the Netherlands, which is one of the countries taking ambitious action along the plastic lifecycle. It is a signatory of the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment and a member of the Global Partnership on Plastic Pollution and Marine Litter.

De-industrialisation and tighter environmental regulation in the North have greatly reduced these very visible symptoms of urban environmental degradation. In the South, however, there are many cities where uncontrolled industrialisation still causes severe air, water and land degradation. The resulting environmental damage is often blamed on the inherent greed of private enterprise.

Meanwhile, the immediate Past Minister of Environment, Mohammed Abdullahi, recently said the Federal Government is committed to the preservation of the environment, noting that there are policies in place towards the goal of halting biodiversity loss.

“We have the national forest policy and also the national forestry laws which will soon be taken to the National Assembly so that when it is approved, all issues regarding forestry will be tackled as the law is enforced. We are also carrying out a forestation project targeted at planting trees,” he said.

With available science and solutions to tackle the problem, Nigeria governments, companies (Private and Public Sectors) and other stakeholders must scale up and speed actions to solve this crisis. This underscores the importance of this World Environment Day in mobilising transformative action from every corner of the world.