Promoting Environmental Sustainability In Nigeria : Addressing Land Degradation in Nigeria: Past efforts with Limited Impact. The Environmental problems experienced in Nigeria are very diverse. They include soil degradation, rapid deforestation, urban air and water pollution, desertification, loss of arable land, pollution of water, air, and soil from oil spills. Each of these has notable costs for both individuals and entire economic sectors due to their implications for industries and agricultural productivity. As a number of environmental problems stem from industrial endeavours, both their causes and effects are relevant to Nigeria’s economy.
Since the United Nations conference on environment and development, 1992 aggressive efforts were initiated to combat environmental issues in Nigeria. The efforts yielded positive result in the establishment of Federal Ministry of Environment in June 1999 to ensure effective coordination of all environmental matters, which hitherto were fragmented and resident in different line Ministries. The creation was intended to ensure that environmental matters are adequately mainstreamed into all developmental activities.
Gully erosion is widespread in Abia, Imo, Anambra and Bayelsa States while coastal erosion is commonly found along the nation’s 853km long coastline with estimated mean shoreline retreats of 2 – 30 metres per year. The worst affected areas include Victoria Beach in Lagos, Awoye/Molume in Ondo State, Ogborodo/Escravos and Forcados in Delta State, Brass in Bayelsa State and Ibeno – Eket in Akwa Ibom State. In recent years, the Federal Government spent almost 91.0 billion on the periodic reha-bilitation aid sand replenishment projects of the Bar Beach in Lagos. In the far north where vegetation cover is scarce, wind erosion is a common land degradation factor which frequently sweeps away the top soil. It is estimated that over 90% of the total land area of Nigeria is under severe sheet, rill and gully erosion with the severest gully erosion accounting for 80% of Nigeria’s total land area. Sheet erosion leads to impoverishment of the soil as nutrients are washed away, loss of livelihood as farmlands become wasteland thus increasing the menace of rural-urban migration and pollution and siltation of available sources of drinking water. Human lives and properties especially buildis are endangered as they collapse into gullies. There are currently over 2,000 active gully erosion sites spread around the country.