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The Impact of Urbanization on the Environment

When there is a sharp general increase in population in response to a growing rate of industrialization in an area then you know that area is going through urbanization. This includes increase in the number and extent of cities. This article focuses on the role urbanization plays on the Nigerian environment.

Urbanization symbolizes the movement of people from rural to urban areas. Urbanization has its merits and demerits. If left uncontrolled it can lead to environmental degradation such as excessive air and noise pollution, poor quality of water, poor drainage and sewage systems, problems of waste disposal, and the notable one which is traffic congestion.

Industrialization and economic development usually initiates the growth of cities. The population of major cities in Nigeria is growing at a staggering rate, especially the population in Lagos state. Consequently, environmental degradation may just be occurring very rapidly due to uncontrolled urbanization.

The major environmental problems bedeviling urban cities in Nigeria usually result from the continuation and sharpening of existing problems that currently do not receive enough political attention. It has become the norm not to bring the existing problems under focus, or then nothing is done even when the situation has been detected.

The most emerging issues are climate changes, freshwater scarcity, deforestation, slum creation, insecurity, increased crime rate, fresh water pollution and population growth. These problems are very complex and their interactions are hard to define.

Summarily, a rapidly urbanizing region such as ours would mean that the proportion of the population with access to infrastructural and municipal facilities and services increases, especially in the cities. Nigeria’s urbanization is characterized by modernization, as it leads to constructive alterations in social lifestyle, behaviour, norms and relations in many urban cities. Lagos with a population of over 21 million people, mostly youths is a typical example.

Given the agglomeration of people of diverse social and cultural origins, Lagos state often times has been regarded as no man’s land whilst its population continually to soar with reckless abandon. This unfortunately does not equal the square area one bit. The large water body in the city of excellence even makes the situation worse for not just the inhabitants but also the government. And if the rate of urbanization in the city is left uncontrolled it may have dire consequences

We can conclude that some causes of damage to the environment due to urbanization lies in the legislation and the regulating agencies of the country. Failure of governance in today’s cities has resulted in the growth of informal settlements and slums that constitute unhealthy living and working environment.

Indeed serious attention should be given to the need for improving urban strategies, which promote efficiency in resource use. Not forgetting that vehicular pollution control in metropolitan cities and other cities deserves top priority too.

Also, urgent attention should be given to reduce the generation of solid waste at the sources through mandatory standards and regulation fee and tax incentives, and education and voluntary compliance.

In case adequate steps are not taken to prevent pollution and to improve the quality of life by providing more social amenities, the life of the urban dwellers in Nigeria may become more miserable, this may be the cause of health hazards and worst devastation.

Although it is impossible to restrict urbanization, it has to be ensured that urbanization proceeds in the right path causing minimum impact on environment.

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