A Professor of Water resources and Environmental Engineering has warned that the rate of unplanned and arbitrary urbanization in the country is causing a lot of damage to forests and other natural resources. He said if more proactive measures are not put in place to control unbridled urbanization, the environment will continue to degenerate with disastrous consequences for its inhabitants. Professor Josiah Babatola sounded the alarm bell while delivering the 126th inaugural lecture of the Federal University of Technology Akure FUTA with the title Water, Man and Environment: The Three inseparable partners on Tuesday May 4, 2021. On a global scale he warned that if urgent steps are not taken to redeem the planet, the world could run out of rain forests in 2100, food in 2050, fish in 2048 and water in 2040.
Outlining the ways humans impact the environment, he said plastic pollution, deforestation, air pollution, oil spillage, overpopulation, overfishing, deforestation are some of the ways humans are damaging the environment. He said these are an offshoot of urbanization and rapid industrialization and they have attendant negative effects on the environment such as global warming, climate change, ocean acidification, acid rain, and ozone depletion.
Professor Babatola, who is also a recipient of the TETFund Research Grant for several research works, pointed out that in looking at the major disasters that have occurred in the past, all of which have had a direct impact on the environment, it is evident that there are recurring elements that are still of concern today and that both human factors and human errors can be directly related to environmental impact. According to him, “Never before has our planet faced the scale of man-made challenges than we have today thus real change is needed not just from politicians and businesses but from all of humanity.”
He said since humans greatly impact the natural habitat in so many ways there is therefore the need to be aware of our personal environmental input and take steps that will mitigate the spate of ensuing natural disasters that are manmade. To that end he called on researchers in Nigeria to embark on serious interdisciplinary, need driven researches in all areas bearing in mind the impacts the output of these researches will have on the environment.
He also recommended that that all existing government policies and laws dealing with environmental and water protection be reenergized and enforced. This he said is important because if the current rate of both solid and waste water generation is not controlled there will be the rampaging death from waterborne diseases. He said the effect of man on the Environment, and the resultant impact of the environment on man, is being lost in the rapid changes that are being experienced in this latest phase of industrial revolution and technological growth. He therefore recommended that the government takes action to correct this anomaly because of the future of the coming generations and to avert a major disaster that might change the world as we know it.
The lecturer said Mother Nature is an unrelenting, unforgiving force so it is best to treat her well by adopting sustainable practices such as recycling, use of biogas, proper waste disposal systems, afforestation and efficient resource planning. He said, “The best time to act was yesterday and the best that we can do is today as tomorrow may be too late. Society needs to help itself in order to survive.”
In his capacity as chairman of the occasion, the Vice Chancellor, Professor Joseph Fuwape, described the lecturer as a prolific researcher who has contributed immensely to his area of specialization. He said, “Babatola is a productive scholar and an astute administrator who has served the university dedicatedly in various capacities.”