An environment encompasses the biophysical or rather the biological and the physical factors that define the existence of an organism in a given place. The quality of such factors of the environment will always affect the quality of the biodiversity of the given areas. Human activities coupled with the natural activities are associated with the degradation of the quality of the parameters that defines a habitable environment. In the absence of restrictions, humans, through their greed, will continue to reduce the quality of the environment through overexploitation and over extraction of the available natural resources. Humans have also contributed to the degradation of the natural environment through pollution. Environmental protection, on the other hand, is an activity or practice that is geared towards the protection of the natural environment to sustain the lives of the organisms that inhabit such places. Environmental protection is grounded on policies and procedures with the aim of conserving and preserving the natural environment as well as rehabilitation of degraded environments. Environmental protection can be an individual initiative and can also be through organizations as well as at government level (Sand, 2010).
Achieving such a state where the environment is habitable, several approaches are employed to ensure that the measures and activities of environmental protection are useful. The first approach that is used in protecting the environment is voluntary environmental agreements. Voluntary environmental agreements involve setting the permissible levels of the categories of environmental pollutants. Companies, therefore, are required to align their systems to adhere to the set standards. Mostly, companies are recognized by working together to make their emissions far below the set standards. In so doing, the quality of the environment is improved, and best practices are employed by the different organizations to protect the environment. On the contrary, the challenges that exist in the voluntary environmental agreements are in establishing the baseline data and targets and also monitoring and reporting. It is important noting that its hard to assess the effectiveness of the measures involved in the voluntary environmental agreement, and it would mean that the environment can still be adversely affected. Its only advantage is that it can be used to build environmental management capacity, both in developing and developed economies (Najam, 2005).
The other vital approach to environmental protection is ecosystem approach. The decision-making process is an important aspect of the management of the resources available. Ecosystem approach to environmental protection, therefore, aims at involving the complex components of the ecosystem in the process of decision making rather than responding to specific issues or challenges that are affecting the environment. It is such a collaborative approach and thus requires all the relevant stakeholders to be involved. In the event of coming up with the program to establish the strategies of the ecosystem approach to environmental protection all the relevant governmental departments are involved, representatives of the various segments of the economy, environmental groups, and the community are also required to participate in the event. Through this approach, it is possible to achieve better exchange of information among the key stakeholders and to develop sound conflict resolution strategies that are geared towards the improvement of the environmental quality in the region. With the strategies in place, the institutions mandated to protect the environment effect such plans as agreed by the stakeholders (Morocco-Clarke, 2012).
Furthermore, international environmental agreements is another approach used in designing and attaining environmental protection for the sustenance of all the forms of life. Most of the resources of the earth are shared by nations and to some extent globally. The vulnerability of the lands resources is associated with the extraction or the utilization of the resources by individuals and the nations or countries that share the same resources. International agreements on the protection of the environment have been made to bring together governments to protect the resources. The parties, by signing the agreements are fully responsible for the protection of the named resources. The binding agreements signed by the nations of the world mostly affect factors such as climate, rivers, oceans, and air pollution (Kannan, 2012).
History of Environmental Protection in the World
Environmental protection is a concern to all the nations of the world. Series of events have taken place to enable the countries and the environmental protection partners to reach the current heights of environmental governance. The advancement of peoples knowledge of the environment is attributed to time. Through the years, people have been able to gain the relevant knowledge that in one way or another has been used in the promotion of environmental management and conservation. Rachel Carson, in her book, Silent Springs, became the first to draw the attention of humans to their action and the impact of such measures on human life and the environment. Humans through their actions deposited toxic chemicals to the environment and in the year 1962, Rachel Carson describes the impacts of such measures on humans themselves and the environment. In the year 1967, the Torrey Canyon suffers a breakdown in the sea leading to an oil spillage in the sea. In this event, about 117,000 tons of oils was spilled into the sea near the United Kingdom and in the process, it triggered legal changes to make the ship owners liable for any spill in the sea (Cameron & Abouchar, 2011).
Additionally, the year 1968 marked the first meeting to bring together the experts from the different parts of the world. At this UN Biosphere Conference on 15th September 1968 in Paris, France, the experts discussed matters on global environmental problems such as pollution, resource depletion and the destruction of the critical environments. Paul Ehrlich, in the same year, published the Population Bomb, a book that describes the ecological impact of the rapid increase in the population of the world. In 1970, the first Earth Day in the United States attracted a large group of people that protested the environmental injustices. The wake of this protest led to the enactment of laws for the protection of the environment. The Endangered Species Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act were enacted as a result of the protest on 22nd April 1970. Pollution reports of 1972 indicated that the acid rains that were experienced, particularly, in Sweden were as a result of contamination from other countries pointing to the cross-border pollution (Yang & Percival, 2009).
Further, the Club of Rome in the same year, 1972, published the Limits to Growth, which projected that the Earths resources will be depleted within 100 years if the trends exhibited in the acquisition and use of the natural resources are maintained. On 16th June 1972, United Nations Conference on Human Environment was held in Stockholm, Sweden. The 109 delegates from the 114 countries, who attended the conference recommended that the governments steer the process of environmental protection within their jurisdiction. It is also through the conference that recommendation to form the United Nations Environment Program was put forward. Chipko movement for the protection of trees from commercial logging was established in the year 1973. The movement was founded by women who inhabited the Himalayan villages in northern India with the aim of reversing the effects of deforestation that were being experienced. During this year, 1973, the Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships was adopted to limit dumping and oil spills from the vessels using the seas and oceans (Peters & Hertwich, 2008).
In 1977, there was another protest that shaped the concept of environmental protection among the conservationist of the world. The Philippines protest that forced the World Bank to withdraw its financial support for the dam projects along Chico River energized the members of the different conservation organizations of the world to champion for the protection of the critical environments of their places. On 13th November 1979, the Convention on the Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution was adopted. The convention was important in combating acid rain and also minimizing and regulating the pollution traveling across borders. In 1982, the UN Environment Program organized the Stockholm + 10 in Nairobi, which led to the establishment of an independent commission to craft the global agenda for change. On 20th August 2003, 15 worlds largest mining and metal producing companies pledged to stop mining in the words heritage areas. In the same year, 2003, Europe adopts the first climate emissions trading law that gave carbon a trading value (Malik, & Grohmann, 2011).
History of Environmental Protection in Nigeria
Environmental legislation in Nigeria contains rules and regulations that are geared towards the protection of the environment. The transitions and the amendments of the laws have led to the improvement in the levels of environmental protection. In the colonial era, the situation was not considered as an important aspect of the economy of Nigeria and, therefore, there were no policies and regulations that governed the management and protection of the environment. Criminal Code Act of 1916 criminalized certain environmental-related activities that could harm the environment. The provisions of the Criminal Code Act prohibited water pollution and air pollution which were grouped as offenses of a nuisance. The Public Health Act enacted in 1917, though broad, contained elements and provisions on the regulations of land, air, and water pollution. After attaining her independence in 1960, it was discovered that Nigeria has oil reserves. Through this, it became apparent that the existing laws that were governing the environment were inadequate since the environmental protection provisions were scattered in different laws (Ogbodo, 2010).
The government, during the decade that followed the independence, criminalized all environmental pollution activities that were related to oil extraction. In the 1970s, there were other developments in the environmental laws of Nigeria due to the economic development that was registered due to the oil boom in the country. During this time, river basin authorities were created, and environmental protection units were established in the different governmental ministries to assist in the management of the environment in the various capacities. In the 1980s and the 90s also registered drastic and systematic changes in the laws that govern the environment in Nigeria and this was so since Nigeria ratified to most of the international agreements on environmental protection during this period. The laws enacted during this time in the history of Nigeria are supported by several national regulations and policies that are of significance to the protection of the environment. It is also important to note that NESREA is the most current or recent development that Nigeria has in the sector of environmental protection. NESREA, which means National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency Act is an Act that came into force in 2007 (Cervigni, 2013).
As evident from the above discussion, Nigeria's formal concomitant administration was created altogether from humble beginnings. It was started in the colonial period amid which ecological issues were for the most part framed inside of general wellbeing regulation. It was also created in a somewhat specially appointed way in th...
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