Today 22nd April 2018 again marks the World’s Earth Day. And for a nation that hopes to develop, the day should stimulate profound discuss, thoughts with unequal vigour towards the appreciation, beautification and the continued sustainability of the earth and its constituents. Towards this, Nigeria cannot afford to be an exception.
Perhaps, water which forms a major constituent and an integral part of the earth and which scientifically and overwhelmingly occupies 71% of the earth, happens to have been under the worst form of human desecration of pollution, wrongful and unprofessional extraction, contamination, waste and many other forms of abuse with its looming dangers. And most unfortunately, relevant organisations and government establishments are yet to make serious efforts to checkmate and control these menace that is worsening by the day, while the earth’s valuable time of reprieve, before a major disaster, ticks away.
Below is the story of personal encounters and experiences of the true realities on this subject depicting our level of concern for nature, and afortiori, that of mother earth.
Now in the small rustic town of Anigboro Community, things have changed. They no longer enjoy the benefit of “efficiently running” pipe borne water into homes, and other amenities, as it was in the 70s and up to mid 80s. Multiple buildings have now sprang up as evidence of high population explosion, while each building has become a “local government” of sort, providing its required basic amenities like water through the drilling of borehole, the construction of drainages, roads etc adopting communal and personal efforts.
The Anigboro Community river where some people go to, when in dire need of water, has in recent times shrunk considerably in size, while speculations are rife from the “spiritual quarters” that the “goddess of Anigboro river” is due for another round of annual ritual sacrifice! And this ceremony usually warrants the purchase of a live and “spotless white” cow, a drake, pods of alligator pepper, kolanuts, and other items. Then enters the season of their celebration with drum beats, dance steps, and the mysterious conjuring of certain belief system, just to welcome, water nay, rainfall!
And most times, the basic preventive measures and the scientific explanations for the shrinking river are not addressed. The largely uneducated and “fickle minded” lots, only thrive in their vile habits ranging from; the dumping of refuse into drainage and other locations that eventually end up blocking and diverting river water elsewhere away from its route; their indiscriminate felling of trees that exposes the soil and the river water to more intense evaporation; and bush burnings which deplete the ozone layer and cause climatic change for lesser rain and shrinking rivers.
However, the effects of dumping of waste on drainage lines is quickly felt with the resultant flooding of the town’s roads. And it is like the saying of “water, water, water everywhere and yet none to drink!”. Even the Anigboro Water Works facility, in spite of the news of the huge “financial injection” into the system, it is yet to be operational for years running.
It is at best seen recently, as a painted “antiquity” that glamorise official corruption in government. Yet, water remain scarce.
One is even at a crossroad, over the conflicting policies of government at times, since the State Governor had, in the preceding week, perhaps in the desperation of seeking for his 2nd term vote, come to commission a borehole at a neighbouring community, under the network coverage of the Water Works plant!
Little wonder, then why in the frenzy for water, and in the choice part of Anigboro town’s extension, referred to as “Estate” with its elite population of a compact 300 Landlords /plots, have over 50% of the figure, already sunk numbers of boreholes in the estate, and still counting in their frantic bid to get water!
Amongst the elites of the estate,it is like each one is trying to outdo the other! Some even go ahead to needlessly, install the gigantic industrial borehole, while others who have earlier shared the use of their neighbour’s borehole, ended up with “domestic squabbles” especially with the interactions of their wives and children, prompting the “sharing partner” to now sink his/her own borehole.
A typical borehole has the capacity to produce 20,000 litres of water per day. In the case, of prunning down excesses, a maximum number of 3 boreholes is recommended, alternating between two, while the 3rd serves as a back up, in supplying the whole estate with water. And if well managed, it is expected that, this arrangement will suffice. The wastage of resources over the needless installation of over a hundred and fifty numbers of boreholes, in such a small vicinity, is left for the imagination, with its far reaching implications of the continued “pounding” of the earth structure.
While the bitter lessons suffered in the hands of the “quack contractor “still resonate in the heart of the Landlords of the estate, who are still counting their losses. Part of the “evil deeds” done by the “questionable contractor” were the abandonment of the drilling metal pipes and bits stuck beneath the earth in about 10 site locations within the area; unprofessional conducts of not doing the necessary tests, geological surveys; misuse of equipment etc which at times warrants a repeat of the exercise sometimes all over again, all channeled in the client’s bill.
Lessons from all of the above are apparent. There are high incidences of contamination arising from abandoned metal tools that could be highly toxic and corrosive.
The multiple boring of holes on the earth can lead to incidences of earth tremors, landslides, and it can also introduce pathogens and pollutants such as e.coli, listeria, salmonella, onchocerchiasis (River blindness) into the underground water level (aquafer) jeopardising the health of many others.
The government must as a matter of urgency, now move to preserve and protect surface waters and take steps to resuscitate and expand the capacities of old Public Water plants and possibly introduce new ones to meet up with the population growth.
The government must regulate the industry, without making things unnecessarily difficult for handlers, while only knowledgeable professionals are allowed to handle such sensitive jobs, thereby eliminating quackery.
Associations should be encouraged to synergise in using limited number of boreholes in estates.
Serious sanctions and jail term should be meted out to vandals of petroleum pipelines, and the activities of illegal miners to avoid oil leakages and heavy and toxic metal contamination of water bodies.
Let’s preserve the waters. Let’s preserve the earth. Water is life, that helps our sustenance, while mother earth is our sole place of abode (at least for now). Let’s guard them well.
Happy World’s Earth Day.