With so much neglect on the sustainability of the Mother Earth, a lot of factors however informed the epoch remembrance of the importance of the earth to mankind and other creatures that inhabits on planet earth. This task of keeping the environment clean, safe and secure is mindful of the fact that, humans ought to understand the realities we face today in our communities when we deface the surface of the earth. It is no longer hidden that our earth is bleeding profusely and equally crying due to the heaps of refuse that litre every nooks and crannies of our environment and this unfortunate development has subsisted for several years without affirmative action regrettably to address the menace. Statistics shows that Ngeria has mortality rate of 307.4 for every 100,000 people due to air pollution, the second worst in all of Africa.
More people die from air pollution in Nigeria than in South Africa, Kenya, and Angola, combined. Air pollution has remained a critical risk factor for non communicable diseases (NCDs) worldwide, causing about 24 per cent of all adult deaths from heart disease, 29 per cent from lung cancer, 25 per cent from stroke, and 43 per cent from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), the World Health Organization (WHO), estimates show. All and around Nigerian cities are one kind of pollution or the other. This situation is compounded by stagnant pools, drainages, and gutters everywhere that are filled with all sizes of plastics, human faeces unfortunately.
Whether the country has learnt from past mistakes since the return to civilian rule in 1999 after Abacha’s death begs for an answer and the successive governments thereafter, especially in the Niger Delta areas to curb pollution In August 2011, a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), report pointed that the area may require the world’s biggest-ever cleanup and called on the oil industry and Nigerian government to contribute $1 billion (around 920 million euros).
But Amnesty said its researchers investigating spill sites in the region had in the last few days found oil on the soil and in nearby water, in areas where Shell contractors were reported to have recently carried out remediation. So current environmental problems in Nigeria have become great threats to Nigerian environment and nature in general.
Environmental pollution in Nigeria requires great attention. Current environmental issues in Nigeria mainly include air pollution. This is one of the most important threats to the Nigerian environment. Compared to 1990, Nigeria became full of power plants.
There began the development of heavy and automotive industry, construction of factories by American, European, Chinese companies, which led to the increase in the level of air pollution by 36 per cent. The number of deaths from the low-quality air is increasing every year. They already exceed death rates from AIDS and malaria combined. Environmental pollution has led to the increase in the rate of cardiovascular diseases and problems with respiratory tract.
Water pollution; water is one of the most precious natural resources. It is important for the existence of all living beings. However, the number of threats to this valued resource is increasing every year. The main reason for this is that as the human populations grows, there will certainly be increase in demand for more water of high quality for domestic purposes and economic activities. This and many other cases are reasons, the call by the Catholic Pontiff, His Holiness, Pope Francis, is passionate about our environment and the earth as gifted by God .
This message also has been taken up by the Catholic world over. In his Gospel of Creation (LAUDATO SI), the Catholic Pontiff, Pope Francis urged all people on earth to save the earth, our common home from destruction. The Pontiff released an encyclical LAUDATO SI in 2015, calling the world to take urgent actions to save the Earth- Our Common Home. In response to this, the United Nations, Countries and numerous Catholic Dioceses around the world have started to carry out many actions to care for the environment and repair the damage done owing to selfish human economic and social activities.
The Pontiff said, “Earth is a Gift of God to Humankind; God created the earth with everything necessary to nurture all forms of life, human, animal and plant-establishing a great harmony between humans and nature and indeed His creation was ‘very good’ (Gen.1:31). Each one of us, man and woman is a STEWARD of God’s creation; this stewardship is a change from God to care for His property and gift to us – the Earth. “The Care of the Creation is therefore, a moral obligation and divine mission of all, young and old.
This is a charge from God for Man ‘to till the earth and keep it’ (Gen. 2:15). Pollution of the environment by dumping trash, rubbish or plastics, indiscriminately is a Sin that goes against love of God, neighbour and creation. In line with the Season of Creation, the Archdiocese of Lagos has taken steps to address the environmental crisis and care for the earth with its adoption of No-Litter, No-Plastic pollution practice in its Parishes, schools, Homes, Hospitals and the larger community.
According to the Archbishop of the Metropolitan See of Lagos, His Grace, Most Rev. (Dr.) Alfred Adewale Martins, the aim is to promote the participation of young Catholics in implementing the Spirit and letter of Laudato SI’; to create a critical mass of young people who love and care for the environment; to groom leaders who will promote the culture of respect for the environment. Others include but not limited to, “To cultivate Champions of Environmental Sustainability nation-wide; to create a network of young persons and youth organizations committed to Environment well-being; to carry out programmes, projects and activities aimed at reversing the negative impact of climate change and environmental degradation; to provide a platform for engaging young people in the re-greening of the country and the conservation of flora and fauna, forests and natural resources; to promote the Laudato Si principles on the care of the environment as the framework for inter-faith engagement in actualizing the sustainable Development Goals in Nigeria and to network and collaborate with young persons and youth groups of other faiths and creeds as well as bodies with similar objectives and mission,” he said. During his Homily which centered on the season and the activities of man in relation to God’s creatures, His Grace maintained that, “The Season of Creation is a period of time that begins from September 1 and goes on till October 4 every year; it’s an annual event.