The emerging consensus in the international development community favors environmental protection. Consequently, different developing countries have initiated public policies presumably aimed at protecting the environment and maintaining its integrity. The environmental policies in Ghana and Nigeria have failed to achieve their ostensible objectives. The failure is attributed to the sheer lack of a management framework to implement environmental protection. In other instances, there has not been a demonstrable commitment to effective management of environmental policies in both nations the developing countries. This appears to be the case in virtually all-African countries, especially nations like Ghana and Nigeria in West Africa. The lukewarm attitude toward environmental policies in the region stems partly from the fact that governments in Ghana and Nigeria cannot claim a bonafide ownership of those policies. The predominant style of development in Ghana and Nigeria over the past three decades has essentially been an imitation of the style practiced in Europe and the United states, both in general terms and with specific reference to technology and energy. This style is based on the promotion of industrialization to attain the rapid growth required to bring about the desired wellbeing of the indigenous population. Consequently, because current environmental policies fail to take into account the real indigenous social and economic characteristics in Ghana and Nigeria, the adopted style of development and environmental policies did not produce the expected effects. This has also caused varying repercussions to each of the two nations. Environmental policies that are exclusive to the indigenous society have led to comprehensive confusion rather than clarity in the rural areas of these nations. The principal premise upon which this environmental style was based was founded on the supposition that significant incentives to the industrial sector through the use of modern technology would bring about a highly dynamic increase in all productive activities and this would in turn, propagate technological progress throughout the economy. Such a modernization process was expected to raise the qualifications of both labor and management and thereby lead to new and highly productive investment as well as environmental conditions. In turn, the incorporation of advanced technology would permit future generations of domestic technology, which would promote self-sustained development. Certain reforms in the agrarian structure, combined with the incorporation of capital and technology, would end stagnation in the agricultural sector and convert the sector into a consumer of industrial products. The formulation of these rigorous environmental policies, however, has ignored the input of indigenous people in Ghana and Nigeria who were expected to help implement all the environmental policies in their rural land. Thus, environmental problems of these nations fall broadly into two categories – the problems arising out of poverty or the inadequacy of development itself, and the problems that arise out of the very process of development. The problems in the adopted style are reflected in the poor social and economic conditions that prevail in both the rural and urban areas. But as the process of development gets under way, the problems (among others) in Ghana and Nigeria are resource depletion and pollution Fossil-fuel sources of energy, such as oil and coal, are finite; they also pollute the air and water, and contribute to global warming. Fossil-fuel source, such as wood, also contributes to warming and atmospheric pollution in Ghana and Nigeria (as well as globally). Although in theory wood is a renewable resource, in these nations wood harvesting has passed the maximum sustainable level. Some of the hydroelectric power plants in these nations are also source of environmental problems. The Volta dam in Ghana and the Kanji dam in Nigeria, and other dam projects have displaced thousands of people and destroyed ecosystems. Further, although the natural deposits of oil in Nigeria may enable the nation to industrialize, it has also caused changes in the flow of rivers or air quality and livelihood of thousands of citizens who live in the Niger delta belt of the nation. In this sense, the environment is a dynamic inheritance, in both nations, that influences every new generation. A prominent reason why Ghana and Nigeria cannot claim ownership of their natural resources is that environmental policies have always been initiated rather haphazardly at the urging of the international development agencies and multilateral organizations. Whenever, foreign aid-giving agencies and organizations initiated environmental policies, they have cajoled governments in the region. Further, the continuous implementation of such programs has been mostly haphazard because of the absence of institutional mechanisms and endogenous management infrastructure. Still, in other cases, human, physical, and financial resources have not been properly aligned and efficiently geared toward the achievement of the stated environmental policy goals. Furthermore, both external and internal stakeholders need to be effectively mobilized to provide sustained support for credible public policies aimed at protecting the environment This study examines the environmental issues in Ghana, and Nigeria. It analyzes the need for public commitment to effective management of environmental policies in Ghana and Nigeria. It further investigates the social distribution of environmental benefits and burdens in these nations. This study also delineates a management framework that is critical to effective implementation of environmental policies in both nations. The objective of this study is to provide such a framework It attempt to present an argument that a management framework would enable Ghana and Nigeria to initiate, plan, and implement their environmental policies in a way that would enable them to achieve sustainable goals. It is further argued that environmental policy without effective management component is unlikely to achieve its espoused objective. Regardless of the levels of sophistication in Ghana and Nigeria, environmental policies are unlikely to be successful without a corresponding management infrastructure. Establishing effective management infrastructure for the implementation of environmental policies, in turn, requires political leadership and commitment, both at the national and international levels. Industrialized countries should support Ghanaбпs and Nigeriaбпs environmental protection initiatives. Thus, the question of whether technical policies alone can help solve environmental problems in Ghana and Nigeria is explored in this article. This article further contends that environmental improvements are equivalent to economic improvements if they can increase social satisfaction or the welfare of the indigenous people in these nations. Finally, the study suggests appropriate waste management and environmental policies for Ghana and Nigeria in the twenty-first century.
Evolution of Ghana’s Environmental Policy
Since Ghana attained independence from Britain in 1957, its environmental policy like those of most sub-Saharan nations, have relied heavily on European models as the major development strategy. This strategy focused attention on urban industrialization and rejected indigenous life-styles in favor of alien or modern systems. Although this strategy has had some positive impact, in most cases, development projects in Ghana as els ewhere in Africa have had adverse environmental impact and endangered the very basis on which sustainability of development depends. For example the construction of the Volta dam has bred trypanosomiasis, which causes river blindness and almost half of the human population over 40 years of age living along the banks of the Volta lake has lost their eyesight (Appiah-poku and Mulamoottil 1997). Between 1960 and 1964, the incidence of bilharziasis rose from a mere 5% in riparian children to an outrageous 90% among children who live near the lake, and today virtually all the people inhabiting the entire shoreline are infected (Moxon 1984; Appiah -Opuku 1997). Ghana created the Environmental Protection Council in 1973, enacted the Provincial National Defense Council law 116 of 1985, and PNDC law 207 of 1988 which make the district assemblies responsible for human settlements and the environment in the districts. It also empowers the district assemblies to monitor the execution projects under approved development plans and evaluate their impact on the people. Further, despite the establishment of the Ghanaian Environmental Protection Council in 1973 and its adoption of foreign environmental strategies, there was no formal environmental assessment procedure in Ghan a until 1995. There was only a systematic environmental review procedure in which the EPC was the main governmental body that decided whether or not an environmental impact certificate or permit should be issued to potential contractors. In recent years, Ghanaians have come to a sudden realization that great harm is being done to humans, plants, and animals in the forest belt within the middle section of Brim River and around Takrowase, Saabe, and Wenchi (Ofori, 1991). While the EPC was busy trying to implement foreign environmental models, there were epidemics that gradually destroyed human flesh which were linked to the toxic smoke of carbons dioxide and sulfur oxides emitted from the Ashanti Goldfields Mining Company (AGC) limited. A recent experiment revealed a high proportion of arsenic concentration in human hair in Obuasi (Environmental Protection Council 1994). The residents of Dumasi village also recently took up arms to protect their environment. They threatened to take measures against what was alleged to be extensive environmental pollution caused by a nearby mining activity that had received an environmental impact approved from Ghanaбпs Environmental Protection Council. Journalists who visited the village claimed that rivers and streams had turne d muddy due to sludge poring from the mine of Billiton Bogoso Gold Limited. Houses were collapsing from the impact of dynamiting and crops were being damaged by toxic emissions from the mines. In 1988 Ghana established its Environmental Action Plan. The establishment of this plan coincided with the start of the second phase of the Ghanaбпs structural adjustment policy that placed emphasis on the explanation of agriculture, forestry, mining and manufacturing. Abdul-Nashiru Issahaku (2000) pointed out that the Ghanaian government has estimated the cost imposed on the nation by environmental degradation in sectors such as agriculture, forestry, mining, and manufacturing industries. Ghanaбпs estimated annual cost of environmental degradation was US$128.3 million or 4 percent of GDP in 1988. This cost was expected to grow at an annual rate of 2 percent, and by 1996 the estimated reached US$2 billion (Issahaku 2000). The government white paper speculated that agriculture imposed the greatest environmental degradation cost of about US$88.8 million or 69 percent of the total cost of environmental problems in the nation. Despite the establishment of Ghana Environmental plan there has been strong recovery in the exploitation of forestry resources especially timber. Issaha ku (2000) pointed that production of logs increased from 560,000 cubic meters in 1983 to 890,000 cubic meters in 1986, and this reduced somewhat to 200,000 cubic meters in 1989 partially in response to the Environmental Action Plan that was enacted in 1988 . By 1994 logging had increased to 450,000 cubic meters. Since 1994 logging has continued to increase steadily, and many scholars have argued that this increase coincided with the transition to democratic rule in Ghana, as well as the inability of the pres ent democratic government to enforce the nationбпs Environmental Action Plan. The mining sector is the largest foreign exchange earner after cocoa in Ghana. In 1991, Ghanaбпs gold production surged from 844,000 ounces to 2 million ounces иC a 200 percent increase from 1983. This has also increased slightly since 1996 (Issahaku 2000). The Ghanaian government still continues to encourage surface mining that is particularly destructive to the forests. Surface mining has much greater impact than just the forest destruction. These environmental predicaments existed in Ghana despite the presence of government environmental action plan and the EPC. Recently, the government of Ghana has finally recognized the non-correlation between economic development and environmen tal degradation and has adopted steps to remedy the situation by actively implementing the provisions of the Environment Action Plan (Environmental Protection Council 1994). Therefore, it can be argued that what Ghana needs is a new environmental management approach that will help it achieve sustainable development. This new management approach must recognize the importance of participation of local people in the environmental development process. This notion is now over due not only in Ghana but also in most sub -Sahara African nations. Local participation in development planning decision is considered by many as not only the basic human right, but also the most effective way to ensure success of development efforts (Erocal 1991; Egunjobi 1993; Appiah-Opoku 1997). Arnstein (1971) and Issahaku (2000) stressed the importance of citizen participation and describe different levels of local participation that are different from the manipulation of citizen power. Moving up the ladder requires that people be empowered to take an active and informed role in decision making. Against this background, a practical alternative to the importation of a Western approach to environmental assessment in sub-Sahara African nations could be initiated by exploring and improving indigenous approaches to conservation. These approaches have been proven to be emotional and human friendly. In the worlds of Brokensha (1986) it is essential first to examine what indigenous people know before telling them what to do. After all, development as Goulet (1975) notes, “is not a cluster of benefits given to people in need but rather a process by which a populace acquires greater mastery over its own destiny.” The Ghanaian government needs to redefine the critical socio-economic and political factors as well as domestic and international influences that undermine government efforts towards achieving sustainable development in the
Nigeria’s Environmental Policy
It has long been recognized that development can have major effects on the environment. The concept of sustainable development goes well beyond this acknowledgement by also considering the effects of the environment on development. Nigeria is faced with the task of coping not only with localized environmental problems that are generated primarily by local poverty, but also with global environment problems, which have their origin chiefly in the wealthy industrialized nations. At the same time, some of the domestic environmental problems of Nigeria have major international implications of a significant scale. Consider the implication of tropical deforestation, for example, a problem occurring almost every day in the nation. During the past three decades, millions of Nigerians made it known that environmental protection should be an important item on the public interest agenda. This outcry was due to the sahelian droughts, floods, forest fires, technological accidents involving oil spills, industrial chemical effluent, and the increased visibility of toxic waste dumping and contamination of rivers, lakes, soil and air (Egunjobi 1993; James 1993; Adeola 1996). The Nigerian military government sounded the alarm in newspapers, books and films. There were also public demonstrations for ecological sanity and pressure was put on the federal and state governments to produce appropriate policies or decrees. The policies that resulted includes the Endangered Species Decree of 1985, National Conservation Strategy for Nigeria 1986, the Natural Resources Conservation Council Degree 1989 and the Federal Environmental Protection (FEPA) Decree 1989. Perhaps more remarkable than the rise of environmentalism, is the discovery in an Italian ship in May 1988 of some imported toxic chemical wastes, made up principally of polychlorobiphenyls (PCBS). This discovery led to a hostile media reaction that accompanied the discovery hastened the creation of FEPA in 1989, since Nigeria lacked both the institutional and legal framework to tackle the issue. Olugbenga Ayeni (1991,750) and Valentine James (1993) contend that prompt government action is overdue in dealing with environmental hazards of soil erosion due largely to over-grazing, bush-burning and indiscriminate tree felling for domestic cooking, industrial hazards, due to pollution of the environm ent and oil spills are very common and as old as the history of oil exploitation in Nigeria. These incidences of environmental pollution have devastated socio and economic lives of people In the Niger delta belt of the nation, which is the main oil producing area. Farmers often suffer irreparable damages after every oil pipe blowout, while fishermen live in perpetual dread of the oil slick. Some foreign oil companies operating in this area confiscated farmlands and paid compensation for the crops and not for the land. Julius Ihonvbere (1995) and Bayowa Chokor (1993) contend that no efforts have been made to make oil companies accept direct responsibility or liability for damage to ecosystems or the natural environment. Rather, oil spills are seen as accidents arising from equipment failures or sabotage. In Nigeria, what is referred to as “public” interest is only partially related to the expressed needs and desires of the citizens. The crucial defining role is played by the corporate elites from the multinational oil companies of the industrialized nations who have the wealth, power and will to exert extraordinary influence over public policy. When the public’s needs are blatantly abused (like the Ogoni people and other ethnic groups living in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria), people often look to the federal government to correct the abuse. In short, corporate elites are powerful enough to ensure that government efforts do little damage to corporate profit margins. For example, U.S. based Chevron oil company in 1997 admitted involvement in an incident in Nigeria where they ordered the Nigeria security forces to kill two local community activists in the Niger River Delta region. The two protesters were demanding that Chevron increase its contribution to the development of the local impoverish area. The expansion of oil revenue has an unprecedented level of industrial and infrastructure development in Nigeria. This has generated deepening contradictions in terms of regional inequalities, impoverishment and disintegration of the Nigerian peasantry, urban unemployment and degradation of the Nigerian environment. These contradictions are particularly sharply focused in the oil-producing states of the nation. The entire production of Nigerian crude oil comes from the minority areas of farmers, Akwa Ibom, Delta, and Cross River State. On the whole, few of the intended or anticipated transformational effects generated by oil have occurred in these areas. These four states remain politically marginal and economically they represent some of the most underdeveloped states in the nation. Francis Adeola (1996), Claude Ake (1995), Valentine James (1993), and Eboe Hutchful (1985) contend that it is the peasantry in the oil producing states who, while deprived of access to the benefits generated by oil surplus, has borne the negative impact of the industry. Oil industry operations have led to conditions of deepening under-development for this peasantry and have directly or indirectly transformed the peasantry in the oil-producing states from the export of commodities – i.e., palm oil – to the export of labor. In addition to inevitable degradation effects of the oil industry on the natural environment, the dependence of the Nigerian military juntas on oil revenues and their close alliance with the foreign oil corporations, as well as the inability of the state to control the technological processes involved in production, have freed the industry from a sense of social responsibility towards peasant communities in the Niger Delta area. The crushing debt load carried by Nigeria also constitutes one of the international economic factors that play a major role in forest and species declines due to a significant portion of the nationбпs financial resources being siphoned off to repay foreign debt. Forestry and other low -priority sectors are often hardest hit by cutbacks in staff and expenditures imposed by economic austerity programs, and these programs, combined with economic stagnation, also intensify pressures on forests through their impact on the poor. A second interna tional factor is the high demand in industrialized nations for Nigerian timber and other commodities grown at the expense of forests. Growth built on such resource depletion is almost certain to be unsustainable. Many environmental policy interventions in Nigeria are regulatory, and seek to control the activities of both the public and private sectors in areas such as pollution, disposal of hazardous and toxic wastes, and health standards. Such policies, in order to be effective, require adequate funding, and trained staff, who are usually in very short supply and unlikely to remain untouched by the graft and corruption which frequently surround them and often form a part of their activities. Over the past three decades, environmental policy in Nigeria has ignored the input of the indigenous people. The implication of such practice is that the indigenous people of Nigeria have been restricted to foreign resource bases that are limited in terms of both their extent and diversity. Therefore, as producers and farmers begin to experience decreased access to resources due to Nigeria’s debt crisis, they are forced to take up agricultural practices for which they possess neither the knowledge nor organizational structures necessary to operate efficiently or respond to their environment’s biophysical reaction. Thus, political elites and military juntas have often presented farmers with environmental models that are poorly suited to local conditions. As a result state development policies and agency structures are not conducive to the development of a satisfactory co-evolutionary relationship between nature and society. They are geared to the all too familiar “top-down” approach to rural development. The en vironmental alarm is still being sounded but is increasingly being drowned out by warnings of other crises, for example, political instability, low economic productivity, education and high crime rate. Mass mobilizations continue to take place but are largely ignored by officials of the present administration who are dismantling all opposition to their regime policies. The search for safe, renewable energy has become a very low priority in the midst of today’s economic reces sion.Does this mean that Nigerians have suddenly decided that environmental protection is not immediately important? Francis Adeola (1996), Valentine James (1993), and Chokor (1993) assert that the most reliable indicators of the policies of governments toward environmental problems are how they are organized to deal with environmental issues and the amount of money allocated to address the problems. Based on this observation there is need for a closer look at what the Nigerian government and private citizens have done to improve the environment or to address environmental problems inNigeria. The kind of environmental policy interventions currently favored by the United States and Western Europe, especially by economists such as Pearce et al. (1990a), present problems in thecontext of Ghana, and Nigeria. This is because goods and services such as water, gasoline and transportation are frequently subsidized in these nations, and several other African nations, in an attempt to counter the effects of inflation, and to provide a stimulus to industrial growth. Whatever the true costs and environmental benefits of removing the subsidies on these goods, their removal penalizes the poor and can have a marked effect on their standard of living, especially in urban areas. Citizens of Ghana, and Nigeria are, often forced to adopt sustain able strategies out of necessity, they can only guarantee that acting sustainable will not make them lose control of their own immediate resources. This is not an inevitable outcome, and the dice are often h eavily loaded against more sustainable practices. Uneven development has frequently made the poor face the internal costs of externalities in their daily lives. A long history of corporate neglect of the environment and a more recent corporate opposition to environ mental protection (Shell Corporation and the Ogoni people) provide a major explanation for today’s environmental crisis. In fact, the only noticeable change is that corporate elites have begun to recognize that environmental problems do exist, and to develop an ideology that (1) absolves them of responsibility and (2) portrays them as the best hope for solving the problems. This change is a function of politics rather than a matter of newborn corporate morality.
Environmental Policy and Waste Management
Like any other public policy, environmental policy needs to be effectively managed. Several reasons can be advanced to justify the need for effective management of environment policy in Ghana and Nigeria. On the one hand, African countries have mono-product economies. On the other, these countries have extractive economies superimposed on weak industrial bases. Consequently, most African countries depend almost exclusively on one commodity for the largest portion of their export incomes. For example, Sierra Leone depends on diamond export for over 60 percent of foreign exchange earnings; Zambia obtains 85 percent of its income from exporting copper; while Nigeria depends on export of crude oil for about 90 percent of its income. These extractive industries have been the major sources of environmental degradation in Africa. This problem will continue far into the future until African countries diversify their economic bases. For example, the impact of oil on the socioeconomic conditions of Nigerians has been extensively documented (Olayiwola, 1987; Onoh, 1983). Oil has provided access for Nigeria to enter the world market. It has also been a conduit for technology relocation in the country (Edoho, 1991). However, although oil production has contributed enormously to the phenomenal improvement on the socioeconomic existence of Nigeria, it has also accentuated environmental pollution and degradation (Akinmalodun, 1976; Ikein, 1990). In this section, we document both the environmental hazards and their impact of oil exploration and exploitation on Nigeria.
Management Framework for Environmental Policy
As stated at the onset, the focus of this study has been to provide a managem ent framework for implementing environmental policy. Environmental policy generally has to do with a set of principles by which a country regulates its utilization and conservation of environment for the purpose of achieving its national development objectives. A countryбпs environmental policy is concerned with the methodology of planning, classifying, prioritizing, and organizing resources as well as establishing institutional mechanisms designed to achieve national goals. Policy in itself has several connotations, but all carry the implication of choice (Norman, 1996). Management of environmental policy as a focus of inquiry presents policymakers with multiple sets of problems that may complicate the choice among competing alternatives. The management dimension in this context is concerned with the specific arrangements that a country must make and activities it must undertake to implement the environmental policy. Such arrangements and activities are all inherent in the basic functions of management. Management scholars believe that the basic functions of management include planning, organizing, advocacy, implementation, and controlling. Each of these functions of management will be discussed in order to determine how they fit in the broader context of the national environmental policy scheme.
The Ghanaian and the Nigerian governments should provide all the necessary support and encouragement to people who wish to help promote afforestation in the remote areas where the environmental problems are becoming more acute. There should be efforts to educate the rural population about the consequences of environmental degradation. Much of the problem would be solved if nationwide awareness were instilled in the minds of both rural and urban people of both nations. The Ghanaian and Nigerian governments must be quite frank in facing the facts that political and corruption problems remain because of foreign aid. Such dependency trap undermines the resources available to them, which include the indigenous human capital. The local or rural political units should be involved for the initiation and management of environmental resources. Any revision to the environmental policy to promote development of natural environmental management must involve full participation arrangement with rural or local people if the policy is to succeed. Promotion of this concept should permeate the rhetoric of the national conservation The problems in environmental degradation are very huge, especially in the area of management and implementation of policies. Special efforts should be made by the governments of Ghana and Nigeria to enforce environmental laws. On one hand they should impose strict control over the illegal behavior of public officials who are vulnerable to high level corruption. On the other hand they should educate the local people, who cannot pay high bribes, to report their activities. The solutions to environmental problems today will be more difficult, costly, and controversial than that of the past three decades in Ghana and Nigeria. This is simply because the indigenous people are more aware than before. The awareness is making them to demand more compensation from their government than in the past. The trade-off between paying off national debt or payingdamages to indigenous people will also make environmental solutions more costly.
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