Non-enforcement of environmental regulation policy and its impact on sanitation

Introduction

According to Eccleston (2012) environmental regulation policy focus on problems arising from human impact on the environment which have effect on human society by having a negative impact on human values such as good health and green environment.

Augustine (2009) stated that it is obvious today in our community and cities that environment regulation policy problem are springing up daily as a result of anthropogenic activities, man in an effort to make the best use of resources available in his environment to satisfy his numerous needs result in over exploitation of both renewable and non-renewable resources in the environment in a way that jeopardized the activities of future generation to sustain itself with its available resources. The problem he said are made acute by rapid urbanization and concentrated population growth without commensurate expansion in sanitary facilities which result in poor housing conditions. Poor ventilation and indoor pollution, thereby increasing the disease burden within the population. Consequently those result in increase case of food borne disease, cholera, typhoid and malaria etc. as a result of improper disposal of refuse, human waste blocking drainage, flooding and over grown bushes.

Unuraye (2009) explained that the federal government has take a lot of measure to solve enacting the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA) by decree noise of 1988 when an unfortunate incident of dumping of hazardous toxic waste was found in Koko, (FEPA) changes to (NESREA) ACT 2007.

It is also said by the author that other environmental regulation policy was implemented to protect the health of human such as the environmental impact assessment (EIA) decree No 56 of 1992 was to prevent industrial pollution, Effluent limitation and solid waste management were also formulated.

Types of environment health regulation policy

Federal republic of Nigeria with federal ministry of environment outline the types of environmental regulation policy which are as follows:

  • Guidelines on Hazardous Chemicals Management, 2001
  • Guidelines on Pesticides Management, 2001.
  • Blue print of environmental enforcement regulation 2001.
  • National policy on environmental sanitation of 1989 as amended.
  • Blue Print Environmental Enforcement 2001
  • National Environmental Standard and Regulatory Enforcement Agency (NESREA) Act 2007
  • Local government bye-laws.

 Causes of non-enforcement of environmental regulation

  • Overarching corruption of public officials changed with enforcing these laws: Corruption is a major problem in Nigeria and has pervaded almost all sectors of the economy, even considering whom enforcement agent have in easier to see how these official can be easily co-opted and bribed.
  • Diversion of ecological funds: To other use possibly of lesser significance has also been seen as a big problem to environmental enforcement agent in the country.
  • Inadequate personnel: This occurs as a result of lack of fully professionally trained persons in the environmental health field to enforce environmental policies in our communities.
  • Lack of effective environmental monitoring: This is the improper monitoring of environmental health workers to carry out their activities such as environmental health policies to enforce proper maintenance of the environment. e.g. Environmental sanitation.
  • Lack of communication: Communication plays a vital role in any health programmed. This means that health consumers members of community need to understand clearly what is being sent. This is done by communicating in a language that could be understood by members of the community.

 The public health implication of non-enforcement of environment regulation policy

David (2009) stated that one of the most difficult problems in Nigeria on non-enforcement of environmental regulation policy is the area of solid waste management in urban centre especially among low income settlement. The problem of solid waste as a result of villages is getting worst, as a result of non-enforcement of laws; people chose to dump dirt in public drainage in-stand of disposing it off sanitarily. Public center have become waste centre, waste is dumped in open space, access road and water bodies.

According to Augustine (2007), wastes are invaded by salvagers who seek to earn a living from waste. These illegal acts serves as a breeding site for disease vector which leach ate peculate the soil to contaminate the underground water. It is a common agreement that human activities is degrading the environment e.g. land pollution, water pollution and other harmful activities. He further said that refuse accumulate in a particular place heaped up to become environmental nuisance blocking drains, impeding free flow of traffic causing accident as well as emitting offensive odours, breeding flies and discharge noxious water in the environment.

Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA) stated that pollution given off by various industries and factories are often considered to be one of the prime factors contributing to air, water, and soil pollution. It is estimated that individual pollution is responsible for almost 50 percent of the pollution present. There are various wide-ranging effects as well as consequence of industrial pollution on human health and the atmosphere.

 Global Warming

Global warming is one of the most common and serious consequence of industrial pollution. The emission of various green house gases such as carbon monoxide (CO) and methane (CH+) among others from various industries increase the overall temperature of the earth resulting to global warming.

Global warming has various serious hazards both on environment as well as human health. It results in melting of glaciers and snow-capped mountains, causing an increase of the water level in seas and rivers thereby increasing the change of flood. A part from this global warming also has numerous health risks on human such as increase of disease such as

  • Malaria and dengue
  • Skin Cancer
  • Lyme disease and plaque among others

 Air pollution

Industrial pollution as stated above is one of major causes of air pollution. With increase in the number of industries and factories due to the industrial revolution, an also has increase significantly. The emission from various industrial contain large amount of gases carbon-dioxide, sulphur and nitrogen, among others. These gases when present is elevated in the atmosphere often result in various environmental hazards such as acid rain and various skin disorders in individual e.g. skin cancer.

 Water pollution

Pollution emitted from the industries is also one of the major factors contributing towards water pollution. Dumping of various industrial waste product into water sources and improper contamination of industrial waste often result polluting the water. Such water pollution disturbs the balance of the eco-system, inside, resulting in the death of various animal and plant species present in the water.

Soil pollution

Soil pollution is phenomenon which the soil loses its structure and fertility due to various natural and fertility due to various and artificial reasons. Dumping of industrial waste is one of the prime factors contributing towards soil pollution. Industrial contains large amount various chemical which get accumulated on top layer of soil. Such loss, infertility ultimately results in changes in the ecological balance due to the reduction in plant growth.

 Other common effects

Certain other common effect of industrial pollution include damaging building, and structures, increasing risk of various occupational hazard such as asbestosis, and pneumoconiosis among others.

 The health implication of industrial pollution

Industrial activities are major sources of air, water and land pollution, leading to illness and loss of lives all over the world. World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that outdoor pollution alone accounts for around 2% of all heart and lung disease, about 5% of all lung cancers and 10% of all chest infection.

Samet (2000) stated that industrial pollution affects our health in several ways. These include direct irritation of target organs or metabolic changes with cell. For example, exposure to too much smoke, in the airways, tightness in the chest and possible suffocation. Sometimes, the effect subtle and may take years to develop. Asbestos fibres for instance as small needle shape silicate crystals that penetrate deep into long 20 years for some illness to manifest.

Other health effect involves metabolic path ways in our bodies. Pathways of chemical reaction in cells where they may interfere with energy product or cellular repair mechanism. Exposure to inorganic arsenic is common people who work in copper shelter or live around them. Exposure to inorganic arsenic also occur among people who consumption of water for shallow tube well in areas where the ground water contain high level inorganic arsenic. When it enters the body inorganic arsenic is transformed through the same chemical reactions that are necessary to maintain the repair process DNA molecules within the cell. As a result of the excess exposure to arsenic and damage on this reaction, faulty repair of DNA molecule causes tumour to form.

Solution to the causes of non-enforcement of environmental regulation

  • Environmental law awareness: Awareness should be made all around the country, in every state and local government area about the dangers and the effects of the pollution of the environment, advertisement should be made via the media to inform people, individual and communities should also be encouraged to participate in environmental improvement effort.
  • Training: Government should try as much as possible to equip it enforcement agencies on how to ensure the effective enforcement of the environmental regulation in existence. Therefore officers of the agencies should be trained for effective enforcement.
  • Effective environmental monitoring: The monitoring involve checking, observing and recording information being destruct by man’s activities especially those involving technology, to plan for exploitation of its resources the unpleasant effect of the environmental mismanagement (Ogidiola, 2007). Environmental instrument should be made available for effective enforcement.
  • Provision of fund: More funds should be allocated by the government at all level to enhance the execution of project geared towards the improvement of the environment.
  • Serious punishment of environmental offences: The attitude of the court and liabilities of those that violate environmental laws are also important laws are also important in the enforcement of environmental laws. The attitude of courts in their various judgments towards environmental justice should be positive.
  • Submission of periodic reports: The state government should ensure the preparation of periodic reports on the state of the environment in each state or community for submission to the ministry if environment. This will enhance the enforcement methodologies and new strategies are initiated for effective monitoring and management of the environment.
  • Quick access to environmental emergencies: There should be quick response to environmental emergencies in the country to prevent the occurrence of worst case scenarios. Prevention is always better than cure.
  • Establishment of environmental courts: Just as there are national industrial courts in the country, environmental courts in the country, environmental courts that would entertain environmental matters should be established for better enforcement of environmental laws in the country.

The role of environmental health officer in the enforcement of environmental policy

According to Public Health Law Cap 134 Section 6 & 10 stipulated that environmental health officer has the right to enter into any premises for the purpose of inspection between the hours 6.00am to 6.00pm, they as follow.

  • Improve environmental sanitation practice: Over the years the poor environmental sanitation condition has contributed significantly to the high prevalence of communicable disease in the country which includes cholera typhoid, malaria, dysentery and diarrhoea etc. as a result of this, the health officers encourages the enforcement of policy to make sure that the people’s health are safe and secure.
  • Market and abattoir sanitation: Anifiox (2005) noted that market and abattoirs are built without proper layout and where such layout exists, they have been distorted beside provision of adequate water supply proper drainage system and waste disposal facilities are lacking which result to indiscriminate dumping of refuse and garbage in the market. He further explain that in the market, he observed that everywhere is filled up with refuse, transporting meat with contaminated vehicles, wheel barrow, motorcycle etc. so it is the work of the environmental officer to discourage such practice by inspecting an abattoir and market is up to standard recommended by the public health.
  • Food sanitation practice: It is said that the large percentage of those poor, go hungry, and for percentage that have food, its wholesomeness is questionable food meant for sale and human consumption are displayed in open container thereby exposing the food by dust, flies, bacterial virus and microorganism. Most of these row handlers are not properly screened for certain communicable disease which can easily be transmitted through food. The poor practice of food sanitation in market have been showed to play a significant role in the effective work by the environmental health worker to ensure enforcement of law so as to encourage handlers to obtain medical certificate of fitness (MCF) before establish a food premises (Aibor & Olorunda, 2006).

They went further to say that the enforcement of federal, state and local government regulation policy on food sanitation should be encouraged among the health worker.

Conclusion

If all the possible solutions are being enforced, non enforcement of environmental regulation policy will be a thing of the past.

Recommendations

  • The government should provide skillful agencies that will help in the enforcement and monitoring of those policies.
  • The environmental health officers should engage themselves in the enforcement of environmental sanitation policy.
  • The government should provide policies that guard’s pollution of the environmental (air, land and water).
  • The environmental health officer should try their possible best to monitor the disposal of waste in order to promote good health in the environment and prevent the transmission of disease.
  • The government should involve in training of qualified environmental health officers that can enforce these law/policy effectively.
  • The local government council should organization workshop, seminar and forum for the training of health officer personnel.
  • The community members should be give health talk on the effect aid causes of non-enforcement of environmental regulation policy.

References

Aina, E. (1992). Key Note  Address on Nigeria Environmental Balance Sheet. In E. O. A. Aina, & N. O. Asepe (eds).

Eccleston, C. & Doub, P. (2012). Preparing NEPA Environmental Assessment. A Users Guide to Best Professional Practices

Eccleston, C. & March, F. (2010). Global Environmental Policy Principles, Concept and Practices. Berlin: Huart  Press.

Obomeokpere, N. (2015). Comprehensive Approach to Environmental Health Science. Benin City: Ambik Press

Olorunda, O. David, O. Samuel, K. Mercy, O. & Adam, S. (2007). Monitoring and Modeling Techniques of Environmental Pollution (1st ed) Akure: His Mercy Publisher.

Oreyomi, M. K. (2008). Environmental Health Hazard and Implication. Lagos: Kinsin Press.

Unuraye, L. O. (2009). Evaluation, Policies, Principles and Regulation on Public Health Safety and Environment (1st ed). Ughelli: Multiplex

Unuraye L. O & Olojoba A. O. (2005). Fundamentals of Industrial and Environmental Health Management (1st ed) Ughelli: Ama-ohoror Printing Press.

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