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environmental degradation and oil spillages. an indictment to hum...

Environmental degradation and oil spillages. An indictment to human right and environmental law



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Environmental degradation and oil spillages. An indictment to human right and environmental law



CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Since the beginning of civilization, man has always been motivated by the need to make progress and better the lives of fellow mankind by exploring the natural environment.  It is indisputable that the natural environment before the advent of environmental degradation,[1] created unlimited opportunities for development and economic sufficiency of the inhabitants or the populace, but with the advent of environmental degradation, the inhabitants have been denied these opportunities and made to languish in abject poverty.

In recognition of the dangers posed by environmental degradation[2], the international community and the Nigerian government have put in place various laws to combat environmental degradation, while the various environmental laws in Nigeria and that of the international community (international legal instrument) in combating environmental degradations intended to yield encouraging result by enhancing environmental sustainability.  The recalcitrant attitude of those involved in environmental degradation has continued to attenuate environmental laws with the government and its agency indirectly collaborating in the act of flouting environmental laws.

Unfortunately, the existing law legal mechanism in place have done little or nothing to eradicate this menace of environmental degradation.  Environmental degradation continues to evolve everyday and everywhere with no end in sight of how this crime can be checked.

Thus this thesis intends to appraise how environmental degradation constitutes an indictment to human right and environmental laws.  It also aims to serve as a theoretical framework for the review and harmonization of the relevant municipal and legal instruments.  Similarly international agency/corporation in combating environmental degradation will not be left out.

Hence, it is imperative to give a brief description or definition of environmental degradation.

 

 

1.1            Environmental Degradation

Before environmental degradation is considered we must first of all know what is environment or what constitutes the environment.

Environment is the natural world in which people, animals and plants live.[3]  The Black’s Law Dictionary also defines it as the totality of physical, economic, cultural, aesthetic and social circumstances and factors which surround and affect the desirability of value of property and which also affect the quality of life of people’s lives.[4]  Under the Nigeria law, “environment” includes water, air, land and all plants and human beings or animals living therein and the inter-relationship which exist among these or any of them.[5]  Therefore Environmental Degradation is the deterioration of the environment through depletion of resources such as air, water and soil; the destruction of the ecosystems and the extinction of wildlife.[6] 

Environmental degradation is one of the ten threats officially cautioned by the high level threat panel of the United Nations.[7]  Therefore the importance and relevance of the environment cannot be over-emphasized, the environment is a complex and delicate system that when properly managed and harnessed can be geared to productive domestic, aesthetic and even spiritual benefit but when poorly managed could predictably be hazardous not only to human survival, but the survival of all living things.  It is therefore inferable that the environment is the physical foundation upon which survival rests.

It is however sad to note that over the years, the environment has been greatly threatened with adverse and disastrous effects on human habitation and survival, which has reflected in the World Bank report.  More than 30,000 people die each day globally, short of their predestined life span due to environmental degradation and pollution[8].  In a year, 108 million people die as a result of environmental degradation and pollution.  Further research shows that between 1990 and 2009, which has a period of 19 years, about 7.3 million people died worldwide due to environmental degradation and pollution.[9] Therefore it constitutes a threat to the existence of mankind and needs to be checked by all the countries and organizations in the globe.



[1] Environmental Degradation Comprises Gas flaring, oil spillages, excessive exploitation or exploration of natural resources in the environment, etc.

[2] This research shall focus on the degradation cause by environmental pollution (gas flaring and oil spillages) in Niger-Delta region of Nigeria.

[3] Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, 6th Edition.

[4] 6th Edition

[5] National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (Establishment) Act, 2007. This act repealed Federal Environmental Protection Act (FEPA) Cap 131 LFN, 1990.

 

[6] Environmental Degradation – Wikipedia, the Free encyclopedia at http://wikipedia.org/wiki/environmental_degradation accessed 7/11/2009

[7] Ibid

[8] Idowu, A. A. “Environmental degradation and Human Rights Violation”, (quoting World Bank Development Report, Washington) (1999), Vol. 3, No. 1, MPJFIL, p. 125.

[9] This emphasis is mine

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Environmental degradation and oil spillages. An indictment to human right and environmental law


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Since the beginning of civilization, man has always been motivated by the need to make progress and better the lives of fellow mankind by exploring the natural environment. It is indisputable that the natural environment before the advent of environmental degradation,[1] created unlimited opportunities for development and economic sufficiency of the inhabitants or the populace, but with the advent of environmental degradation, the inhabitants have been denied these opportunities and made to languish in abject poverty... Click here for more

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