The idea of environment and realization of insuring that the environment is a vital and essential ingredient of human survival date back to hundreds of years; while the earth day launched the idea of environmentalism in its present sense, the realization of the value of wilderness and an appreciation of the consequences of its destruction date back several centuries in America. For example, as early as 1652, the city of Boston in United States established a public water supply, a step followed by several towns and cities in the United States.

Perhaps, the Americans were opportune to realize the ill-effects of expanding urbanization which includes the stench of sewage near by rivers, the unwholesome presence of animal and human wastes, underfoot, the odour of rotting food, the jangling shouts of vendors in narrow lanes and the constant grinding of hooves and iron wagon wheels on unpaved streets.

Industrialization in the nineteenth century widened the impact of environmental degradation, literate people were the first to sense the meaning of this trend. The power and the tranquility of nature need not be over emphasized. Conceited and deliberate efforts were put in the America to protect their citizens against unfit drinking sources.

This research seeks to address the importance as well as conceited efforts to regulate the necessary activities making the environment with a view of ensuring of a safe, worth environment for human habitats.


The dramatic increase in rate of industrialization in the nineteenth century has tremendously increased the impact of environmental degradation. The first serious attention to environmental issue was when President Theodore Roosevelt campaigning trip in 1903 which came to symbolize the campaign for conservation which gained steadily in political popularity. During and after his administration the use and retention of natural resources became a preoccupation of subsequent government.

President Franklin Roosevelt’s new idea enacted a number of natural resources measures. The soil conservation service founder 1935, which applied praction to reduce the erosion of agricultural land.

However, as the world environment were faced with unprecedented environmental hazards ranging from man-made to other natural disasters, the nations of the world were also preparing to seek to addressing such as serious calamity battling the world.

The concept of wilderness as an immense natural storehouse, subject to human management changed after the second world war, life on the battle front as well as the home front curbed the country’s appetite for colossal federal projects. Moreover, the almost immediate demoralization of the armed forces in 1945 and 1946 resulted in an unprecedented national birth rate. Cheap home loans for veterans pushed suburban settlement far beyond the city skylines. As the middle class found itself living on the edges of open lands, political question surfaced about the preservation of the landscape just over the fence. The concept of ecology which valued esthetic and biology over efficiency and commerce began to penetrate the public mind.

The growth of cities also made plain the evil associated with pollution. Media houses covering radioactive fallout and its effect on the food chain, dangerous impurities in urban water supplies and the deterioration of city air. The subtle metaphor of a “web of life”, in which all creatures depended upon one another for their mutual perpetuation gained ground. Hence, the powerful reaction to Rachel Carson’s 1962 classic silent spring a quietly shocking tale about the wide spread pesticide poisoning of man and nature. Her book elicited a public outcry for direct government action to protect the wild, hot for its future exploitation but for its own innate value.

In the process of transforming ecology from dispassionate science to activist creed, Carson unwittingly launched the modern idea of environmentalism, a political movement which demanded the state not only preserve the earth, but also act to regulate and punish those who polluted it. Sensing the electoral advantages from such advocacy, President Kennedy and Johnson added the environment to their speeches and legislative programs. In his 1964 and 1965 messages to congress Lyndon Johnson spoke forcefully about safeguarding wilderness and repairing damage environment.

Richard Nixon showed as a much eagerness as his predecessors to profit from the issue, and he invoked it during the bitter presidential election of 1968. As President, however, he acted with ambivalence moving into two directions at once. In 1969 and 1970, he approved and directed a succession of sweeping measures which vastly expanded the federal regulatory protection afforded the environment. The United States government is the only government at that time to establish in its cabinet the environmental quality council as well as a complimentary citizen advisory committee on environmental quality. During meetings in spring 1970, ash at first expressed a preference for a single department to oversee both environmental and natural resources management. But by April, he had changed his mind, in a memorandum to the President, he advocated a separate regulatory agency solely to the pursuit of anti-pollution programs.

For going such an institution actually presented the final step in quick march towards national environmental consciousness in the United States. Congress recognized the potency of the issue in late 1969 by passing the national environmental policy act (NEPA). This a statude recast the government’s role. Formerly the conservator of wilderness, it now became the protector of earth, air, land and water. The law declared congressional intent to create and maintain conditions under which man and nature can exist in productive harmony. And to assure for all Americans safe, healthful, productive, esthetically and cultural pleasing surrounding. Henceforth, all federal agencies, planning projects bearing on the environment were compelled to submit report accounting for the likely consequences. The now famous environment impact statement (EISS).

On Feb 10, the President presented the house and state on unprecedented 37 point message on the environment requesting for billion of dollars for the improvement of water treatment facilities, asking for national air quality standard and stringent guidelines to lower motor vehicles emissions and launching federally found for research to reduce automobile pollution. Nixon equally ordered a clean-up of federal facilities which had fouled air and water sought legislation to end the dumping of wastes into the great lake, proposed a tax on lead additives in gasoline, forwarded to congress a plan to tighten safeguards on the seaborne transportation of oil, and approved a national contingency plan for the treatment of oil spills.

Nixon declared that its mission would centre on:

(a) establishment and enforcement of environmental protection standards consistent with national environmental goals.

(b) the conduct of research on the adverse effect of pollution and on the methods and equipment for controlling it, the gathering of information on pollution and the use of this information in strengthening environmental protection programs and recommending policy changes.

(c ) Assisting other through grant technical assistance and other means in arresting pollution of the environment.

(d) assisting the council on environmental quality and recommending to the President.

Over pollution and industrialization had left mankind trapped in a deteriorating environment. The damage was not just esthetically displeasing but threatening the very survival of man. Environmentalism gained strength a movement dedicated to ending and if possible reversing this decline in the human environment. If environmental deterioration is permitted to continue and increase at present rates, man wouldn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell (of surviving).

Perhaps, this warranted the various bodies at the federal level of the United States to pull all resources at their disposal to approach the problem head long. This singular efforts and various encited, determined effort said to the establishment of various agencies to see to the survival of man in the present environment while at the sametime ensuring that the environment is preserved for its own sake and that of human kind, the greatest contribution to the deterioration of the environment.

In an era of bitter ideological disputes, public opinion was virtually unanimous on the need for the national environmental policy NEPA would generate. In August 1970, they wrote: Historians may one day call 1970 the year of environment a turning point, a year when the quality of life became more than a phrase.

Ruckelsau himself refuses to idealise the early 1970s. in fact he blamed the idealism of the year of environment for many environmental protection agencies EPAs subsequent problems. He said we thought we had technologies that could control pollutants, keeping them below threshold level at a reasonable cost and that the only things missing in the equations were national standards and a strong enforcement efforts. All of the nations early environmental law reflected these assumptions and everyone of this assumptions is wrong the errors in our assumption were not readily apparent in EPAs early days because the agency was tackling pollution it is most blatant form. The waste problems and the most direct way to deal with them were apparent to everyone.

Early in 1985, the EPAs received a boost with the necessary increased funding and legislation to enable them perform their statutory responsibilities. Other European countries like Great Britain and Germany followed the American example and pass necessary laws protecting and conserving the environment for the use of humankind.


Nigeria has the eight largest national population in the world and about quarters of the total population of all the countries in sub sahara Africa.

The climate which affects the quality and quantity of the countries water resources results from the influence of two main wind systems, the most relatively cool, Monsson wind which blow from south-west across the Atlantic ocean towards the country and brings rainfall and the hot, dry, dust-laden Harmattan wind which blows from the North-East across the Sahara desert with its accompanying dry weather and dust laden air.

Water pollution in Nigeria occurs in both rural and urban areas. In rural areas drinking water from natural sources such as rivers and streams is usually polluted by organic substance from upstream users who use water for agricultural activities. Suspended sediment in the water course have become a serious concern for the water supply authorities because they lead to increased water treatment cost. Many factories in Nigeria are located on river banks and use the river as open sewages for their effluents. The major industries responsible for water pollution in Nigeria include petroleum, mining (for gold, tin and coal) hood and pulp, pharmaceuticals, textiles, plastics, iron and steel, brewing, distillery fermentation, paint and food, of all those, the petroleum sector present the greatest threat to water quality. From time to time, accidental oil spillages occur which endanger local sources of water supply and fresh water sources especially the rural areas. Most people affected are the majority urban rural poor. In the long run, the present level of environmental degradation could create health problems from water borne diseases for most of this population. Water contamination also place other resources at risk, fisheries and land resources for example, have already been affected significantly, most of the environmental pollution problem arise from anthropogenic sources mainly from domestic and industrial activities.

The birth of the EPAs in Nigeria can be attributed to the then Federal Military government which has placed great importance on the environment and the subsequent establishment of federal environmental protection agency (FEPA) by decree 58 of 30th December 1988. The agency has a statutory responsibility for overall protection of the environment and its initial function ranges from:

(a) Coordinating all environmental activities and programmes within the country.

(b) serving as the national environmental focal point and the coordinating body for all bilateral and multilateral activities on the environment with other countries and international organization.

(c )setting and enforcing ambient and emission standard for air, water, and noise pollution.

(d) controlling substance which may affect the stratosphere especially the ozone layer and

(e ) preventing and controlling discharge to air, water or soil of harmful and hazardous substances.

These functions are perhaps very laudable and encouraging most especially towards preserving the environment for the environment itself and towards it use by mankind.

The National policy on the environment was launched by the President in Abuja on 27th November, 1989. The goal of that policy was to achieve sustainable development in Nigeria and in particular was to achieve sustainable development in Nigeria and in particular to:

(a) secure for all Nigerians a quality environment adequate for their health and well being.

(b) conserve and use the environment and natural resources for the benefit of present and future generation.

(c ) raise public awareness and promote understanding of essential linkages between environment and development and to encourage individual and community participation in environmental improvement efforts.

(d) co-operation in good faith with other countries, international organization and agencies to achieve optimal use of trans-boundary natural resources and effective prevention or abatement of trans-boundary environmental pollution.

The introduction of guidelines and standard was part of the implementation of the policy and the environmental pollution abatement strategy contained therein. The guidelines and standards relate to six areas of environmental pollution control.

  1. effluent limitation
  2. water quality for industrial water uses at point intake.
  3. industrial emission limitation
  4. noise exposure limitation
  5. management of solid and hazardous waste
  6. pollution abatement in industries

Environmental protection are only meaningful if the environment to be protected is adequately understood. Neither over protection nor under protection of the environment is desirable. Ideally standards should be set based on nationally generated environmental baseline date. However, in transposing data between countries socio-economic and climate differences must be taken into account.

With the establishment of guidelines and standards, FEPA now Federal Ministry of Environment is initiating a monitoring programmes to ensure that set standard are met. The objectives of the monitoring programmes are to:

  1. establishment of an environmental baseline
  2. detection and evaluation of environmental trends.
  3. provision of advance warning of approaching critical conditions.
  4. prevention of potential threats to the human environment.
  5. provision of a means data storage and retrieval.
  6. Detection of accidental critical events which may exceed the rate of recovery of the environment.

Conceited efforts are being made to build zonal laboratories in the various parts of the country to provide adequate monitoring coverage for domestic, recreational and industrial causes and effects of environmental degradation. The six zonal laboratories were established in Lagos, Benin, Abuja, Jos, Kano and PortHarcourt. The Lagos laboratory is serving as the national reference laboratory.

The FEPA now Federal Ministry of Environment’s Lagos office and zonal laboratory complex were commissioned in October 1990. It is acting as a national environmental reference laboratory and is serving as a national monitoring activities of the states and the federal capital territories. The laboratory complex is made up of six units.

  1. Water and waste water laboratory.
  2. Analytical instrument laboratory.
  3. Toxic chemical laboratory.
  4. Microbiology laboratory.
  5. General laboratory including bio-assay techniques.

Once adequately equipped, the laboratory complex will provide the agency with the capability to generate reliable data for determining compliance with National interm guidelines and standards which were set up by government to monitor and control industrial, domestic and industrial pollution.

It is therefore safe to conclude that economic development can be competition with environmental conservation and the present problems of environmental resources degradation need not arise within the framework of suitable development. Failure to halt further deterioration of environmental quality might jeopardise the health of a large proportion of the population, resulting in serious political and socio-economic implications.


Towards the end of the early nineties, Nigeria began to place a high priority on environmental matters, particularly water-related issues. This reflected in recent environmental policy, legislation, action plan and programmes introduced by the government. In all these programme, environmental monitoring activities especially water quality aspects are given strong consideration.

With the creation of the FEPA now Federal Ministry of Environment as the central co-ordinating body for all environmental matters within the country, Nigeria has evolved a mechanism that will monitor adequately and will keep records of all relevant environmental variables.

Borno state have followed suit and have established Borno State Ministry of Environment charged with the such responsibility of environmental matter.

The Borno State Environmental Protection Agency (BOSEPA) is an agency under the control and supervision of Ministry of Environment, also adopted the federal government policy in protecting and conserving the environment. It was established to oversee and enforce all environmental matter with a view of not only conserving the environment; but also protecting the environment from predators. The predators particular in this part of the country are the unwarranted falling of trees, desert encroachment and from time to time, accidental oil spillages. Refuse dumping which endanger local sources of water supply and fresh water living resources especially in rural areas.

Among the first few challenges faced by state government are water quality concern, danger of flooding impact on agriculture.

The state government’s environmental efforts have expanded over the last few years as the need for increase protection of state’s resources, natural beauty and quality of life. Borno state have lead the nation in recognizing that a healthy economy and a healthy environment must go hand in hand, we also have enough experience to know that economic prosperity and environmental protection are not only consistent with but dependent on each other.

Baba Ali Mustapha is with Department of Planning and Research, Ministry of Environment, Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria.


History of the Califonia Environmental Protection Agency Home Page.

World Bank 1990. Towards the Development of an Environmental Action Plan for Nigeria Report No. 9002-UN, World Bank, Washington, D.C

FEPA 1989, Our National Environmental Goals Specia Publication No.3 Federal Environmental Protection Agency, Lagos.

FGN 1988 Federal Environmental Protection (Pollution Abatement in industries and facilities generating waste) Regulation 1991 (Federal Environmental Protection Agency).


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