Think globally, act locally” is a concept that has been applied to the environmental movement for decades. The concept encourages local strategies for protecting the earth, including conservation, recycling, restriction of environmental pollutants, beautification and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. All of these are absent in Edo State apart from a skeletal beautification.
By adopting a global perspective, local government officials can play a key role in implementing policies that support the environment in their communities. They can also work through State and Federal channels to influence far-reaching policies to protect the earth.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a wide range of support programs for local government officials and I believe we can adopt this same measures. The idea is not to reinvent the wheel but to see how we cant apply them to particularly cases as it affets us. Here is a sample of six ways we can begin to build a clean and sustainable environment.
Climate and Energy
The State government in collaboration with Local governments can reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their communities by implementing policies that improve energy efficiency. The amount of energy used for government operations can be reduced by up to one third by adopting energy conservation strategies. Wastewater facilities represent up to 40 percent of energy use in many communities, so one of the most important areas to address is water treatment. Governments can also develop policies and programs that reduce residential energy demand by improving energy efficiency in homes. Homes and commercial buildings use large amounts of energy for heating, cooling, lighting, and other functions. ‘Green building’ techniques and retrofits can allow new and existing buildings to use less energy to accomplish the same functions, leading to fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Techniques to improve building energy efficiency include better insulation; more energy-efficient heating, cooling, ventilation, and refrigeration systems; efficient fluorescent lighting; passive heating and lighting to take advantage of sunlight; and the purchase of energy-efficient appliances and electronics. Policies like this will help create and meet energy-efficiency goals.
Government officials need to be aware of toxic pollution that damages the environment and affects the health and well-being of residents in their communities. As at today, there is no policy regulating pollution in the State as offenders pollute the environment freely without fear of the law and where the law exist, no one has ever heard of it. People burn things indiscrimately, channel waste water from their homes to the street, not to talk about the fumes that come from our generating sets that we conveniently direct to the street. Government must work hard to help reduce toxic pollution through action plans on how to enforce it and also Community Action for Change programme. The program can provides resources to help community leaders understand the risks of pollution and organize efforts to investigate and eliminate the emission of toxins.
It is a well known fact that diesel engines are a major source of air pollution due to the emission of nitrogen oxide and particulate matter. These pollutants contribute to serious health issues, including asthma, cancer and heart and lung disease. State government can address diesel engine pollution by collaborating with environmental groups and private industry. They can also spearhead clean diesel projects and lobby state lawmakers who are responsible for air quality regulations if there is any today in the house. Today, we have cars polluting our environment and driving freely while our government seat and watch the citizens die of pollution. The government can set up a policy to control this pollution as well as provides tools and resources for local government officials and NGO’s who want to improve air quality and ensure public health by reducing diesel engine emissions and other car pollution.
Recycling is one of the most profitable business that government can encourage her people to venture into by providing the environment and policies needed for them to thrive. Even local governments can reduce the amount of waste generated by their communities by implementing recycling policies. This can include instituting a recycling programmes; providing recycling support in public areas like parks, stadiums and shopping centers; and purchasing recycled materials for government operations. Recycling is the best way to have a positive impact on the world and it also helps in reducing air and water pollution since we are sending less thrash to the landfields. When you think of recycling you should really think about the whole idea; reduce, reuse and recycle. Lots of our teeming youth would be gainfully employed if government can drive this initiative.
Preparing for natural disasters like floods, hurricanes and earthquakes has become a critical issue for us partly because we live in a country where we believe these things rarely happen to us. Too many states have had a difficult time recovering from a natural disaster because there was no recovery plan in place. Even Edo State recently experienced flooding from the River Niger that displaced many people from Agenebode. Planning ahead can help lower the cost of environmental cleanup and reduce the risk of contamination from raw sewage, chemicals and other hazardous materials. This is where the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) comes in but as I write this piece, many State including Edo have no SEMA even though it is constitutionally recognised. Measures of disposing of disaster debris is another important issue that must be addressed. Local government officials can work with their state office for emergency management and with non-profit organizations like the Red Cross to implement policies that address natural disaster preparation.
pleasant community appearance adds to home values, helps attract business investment, and just improves the neighborhood reputation. Research shows that beauty is one of the top three factors in creating community attachment, or loyalty, to your particular town or city. Some research even indicates that an attractive neighborhood may lead to better behavior. While Edo State government in his first tenure made attempt to improve the beauty of the environment, it actually didn’t go beyond an attempt as all the beautification sites have since been abandoned as my pictures have shown on this forum. The way to go is to put square pegs in square holes by ensuring that qualified environmental personnel whose passion are borne out of a pure service are engaged. programmes like setting up of Parks, Eco-Parks, landscaping/land development and tree plantation programme at School/Colleges and other important places are massively embarked upon. For more than 30 years ‘Keep Houston Beautiful’ has been making the city shine. A simple neighbourhood oriented strategy to combat existing litter, graffiti, and illegal dumping in neighbourhoods and transportation corridors are key. To prevent the recurrence of these blights, the programme focuses on enforcement, education and community improvement and beautification projects utilising the valuable input and participation of area residents, business and civic groups.
For and on behalf of Edo Focus Parliament.