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THE EFFECT OF ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION ON PROPERTY VALUES IN IKOM URBAN
Background to the Study
Generally, speaking problems with environmental degradation are often linked with process of development and therefore have effects on local, regional, as well as global levels. These effects which are the result of human activities have devastating consequences on the environment and so are harmful on human beings, animals and plants and can be passed on to future generations. (Acho, 1998; Danish International Development Agency, 2000; Kjellstrom and Mercado, 2008). In the face of global economic recession environmental degradation poses a great challenge to sustainable development. There are many problems, challenges and opportunities associated with living in the environment today. The earth and its treasure base, is experiencing a siege from all aspects of human endeavours ranging from misuse, abuse and degradation of the environment that have become so easily spotted and there are disruptions every day and almost everywhere. Cultures, economic activities, cultural behaviours and livelihood practices are changing and changing fast as a consequence of the realization that when people have power to extract resources around them for a more fulfilling life, they sometimes unleashed such power with a sense of desperation to solve the increasing and mounting problems of survival and progressive improvement and this leads to environmental degradation. Thus, the desperate quest for self, family or organisational improvement is no longer a future threat but real threat for the future. To look up to the future with optimism, depends to some reasonable extent on how we are able to set the stage for tackling environmental degradation problems of today. This requires an intelligent and well co-ordinated balance has to be maintained between integrated socio-economic development on the one hand, and lifelong preservation of human life and natural resources of mother earth on the other. Human beings are an end in themselves while every other thing is seconded to it without compromising the integrity and sanctity of the human species on earth. It is worth mentioning here that whenever there is an exhibited mismatch between human production systems and practices, and specific attributes of the resource base of the environment, a reversal of such inhibiting mismatch becomes imperative for the restoration of ecological balance. Over the years colonial, military, as well as civilian administrations in Nigeria have not given the required attention needed to environmental issues. As a result of the afore-mentioned environmental resources and their harmonious relations with nature have suffered dire consequences for decades and this remains one of the most intricate problems in Nigeria. Examples of these environmental hazards which have suffered neglect include the gully erosion in the east, the seemingly devastating effect of solid mineral mining on the plateau and the encroaching of desertification in the north to mention a few. The effect of this neglect can be further seen in the Niger delta geopolitical zone of Nigeria where gas flaring and oil spillage in the Niger Delta has wrecked tremendous damage on eco system, health and livelihood of the people. Thus, exploitation of finite and renewable resources of the environment which was meant for sustained economic growth and development has turned out to be a curse. At inception intense exploration, exploitation and consumption of these resources were effectively contained within the carrying capacity of the environment and its renewable potential. However, with passage of time, teeming population, sophisticated technical progress and their overall impact and pressure on the environment, a rethink began to emerge. The challenge in the contemporary situation remained that of a clear need for regulated control of the living environment based on principles of sustainability. It has become evident that the paradigm shift from sustained development to sustainable development in the light of global environmental concerns becomes an imperative. The pressure of demands made on living and finite resources has risen to a height where the former development styles, processes and their products are now inappropriate and incapable of coping with long-term human demands. Essentially therefore, sustainable development has become the enigma for our common future. Pressure placed on the carrying capacity of the earth and its resources is reaching an alarming proportion and now at the front burner of development and environmental issues. In Nigeria for instance, there is both cultural diversity and ecological diversity. With about 250 distinct ethnic nationalities, the ecosystems range from the southern mangrove swamps, rainforests to savannah woodlands, and semi-arid Sahel regions in the north. The country is characterized by varied landscape, climate, soil, vegetation and regional dichotomies. Indeed the country can be studied as a paradigm of the paradox of development in Africa. There is rapid depletion of and degradation of the ozone layer, soil resources, as well as air and water pollution, amongst others in the world. Pollution and deforestation, soil erosion, oil spills, toxic dung and uncontrolled human activities make the environmental situation a grave one. These environmental problems are products of development activities.
This means that the ecology and economy are co-present challenges of our time. This can be seen in the drastic fall in food output as a result of soil infertility, gully erosion which is rampant in present times. The aforementioned problems threaten human existence, and life expectancy rate in Nigeria on a daily basis. This paper therefore aimed at examining the nexus between environmental degradation and sustainable economic development of Nigeria. The paper examined the impact of environmental degradation on economic development of Nigeria. To achieve this purpose, the paper has been structured into six sections with the introduction as section one. Section two dealt with conceptual issues on environmental degradation and economic development. Section three briefly looked at the situation in Nigeria. The section four discussed the impact of environmental degradation on the Nigerian economy. The section five dealt with policy recommendations and section six is the summary and conclusion.