IMPACT OF URBANIZATION ON ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH QUALITY
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Rapid urban explosion is agreed to be the most complex and important socio-economic and environmental phenomenon that has emerged between the twentieth and twenty-first centuries (Kessides, 2005). Urbanisation is understood in most cases as a shift from a predominantly rural society to an urban society which represents major irreversible changes in production and consumption and how people interact with nature (Allen, 2002). Discourses on urbanisation have changed from an interactional debate towards focusing on how the urban environments and the entire urbanisation process can be studied through a sustainability lens. By definition, urbanisation can be stated as a process by which rural areas become urbanised as a result of economic development and industrialisation (Peng et al, 2010). The definition of urbanisation can be based on the change in population or the change in the nature of towns and cities. With regards to demographic growth, the term ‘urbanisation’ explains the redistribution of populations from rural to urban settlements over a period of time (UNDESAPD, 2014:15). It is also vital to affirm that what is seen as the key indicators of an urban environment differ from one country to another. It therefore, is imperative to be cautious against the use of urbanisation as a blanket term across all societies. It is also important to caution against a flagrant comparison of urbanisation across various societies, given the nature of the disparity that exists between them (Nsiah-Gyabaah, 2005; UN-Habitat, 2007). Peng et al., (2010) argues that the major difference between urban and rural environments is that urban environments are much larger, denser, and more heterogeneous societies as compared to rural environments which are much smaller, more sparsely separated, and possess less differentiated spaces. Urbanisation is argued to be the outcome of social, economic, environmental and political development that leads to urban concentration and growth of 36 bigger cities, changes in the use of land and transformation from rural to metropolitan pattern of organisation, governance and way of life (Nsiah-Gyabaah, 2005). Also Hall et al., (1973: 118) defines urbanisation as the use of land for urban purposes, focusing on people rather than on land or physical structures. It refers to the activities of the people (economic, social and cultural) and these factors define urban areas
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEMS
Impact on the environment is one of the major challenges posed by urbanisation in urban centres in Nigeria; this specifically relates to issues like ecological degradation, pollution, habitat loss, desertification, soil erosion, CO2 emissions, flooding, and other factors. These factors have other sets of sub-categories such as pollution (water, land, visual and noise), global warming, traffic congestion and slum development and so on (Idowu, 2013). Cities close to the coast where oil is extracted and refined are prone to oil spillage and air pollution – examples are Lagos, Bayelsa, and Rivers. Also many health-related illnesses are from environmental-related problems. How people behave, act and react is as a result of what the environment has sown into their minds; this is why urban residents in slums experience high rates of prostitution, drug use, crime and violence (Daramola and Ibem, 2010). Other problems include poor waste management which causes diseases like typhoid, dysentery and malaria to spread fast. Most urban centres are known for large traffic congestion and the fumes from the exhaust pollute the atmosphere badly (Idowu, 2013). Cities are major contributors of Green House Gases (GHG). As a result, cities are increasingly witnessing the adverse effects of climate change arising from GHG emissions which could be reduced by paying more attention to the design, production and operation of buildings in urban areas (NUDP, 2012). Finally, although urbanisation is not inevitable, it is also beneficial to the economic development of cities in Nigeria which are major engines of growth and centres of political activities. The implications of Nigeria’s rapid and unplanned urbanisation are profound not just for the people living in cities and towns but more broadly for the Nigerian economy and indeed for peaceful political, social and environmental development. Promoting the development of the cities is therefore central to achieving socio-political stability, economic growth and environmental sustainability of the country. In addition, cities operate in the national human settlements system and there is the need to re-examine the linkages between the developments of rural areas and rural peoples and the growth of urban areas (NUDP, 2012; Idowu, 2013).
1.3 AIM AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The aim of this research is to examine the Impact Of Urbanization On Environmental Health Quality
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following research questions were formulated to guide the study.
- What are challenges of Urbanization on the health of the populace?
- Are there any remedies in handling these challenges?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The significance or needs of this research are as follows:
The study will give relevant advice to the government as well as the people of Nigeria on the necessary steps to be taken to solve the problems of rural development and as well minimized rural – urban migration in the study area.
It will also be helpful for future writers who might choose to write on similar topics.
It will also be of help to town planning authorities in the study area concerned for use in connection with making decision bordering on the problems identified
This study will stand a chance of literature review for further studies and an eye opener on the problems of rural areas and possible way out.
1.6 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Rural Area: – This is an area or land that is found outside the local, state and federal government headquarters (Murtala, 2014).
Management:-Management is the direction and supervision, organizing and controlling of human efforts to achieve set objectives and goals. (Thorncroft, 1965).
Strategy: – A carefully devised plan of action to achieve a goal, or the art of developing or carrying out such a plan. (Ugochukwu, 2011).
Urban Area: – This is an area or land found within the headquarters of a local government, state government and federal capital territory. (Murtala 2014).
Migration:-This is the act of moving from one place or residence or geographical location to another either on a temporal or permanent basis. (Isah, 2000).
Migrant: – A person who moves from one place to another, especially in order to find work. (Isah, 2000).
Urbanization: – Urbanization is defined as the shift of population from rural areas to cities, and the resulting growth of urban areas. (Ugochukwu, 2011).
Development: – The Town and Country Planning Act, Cap 240, 1990, defines development as the carrying out of building, engineering, mining or other operations in, on, over or under any land, the making of any material change in the use of any buildings, or other land or the sub-division of land.
Rural Development: – This is a strategy, policy and programme designed to improve the economic and social life of the people in the rural area. (Abbas, 1993).
Rural Management: – Rural management is the organizing and controlling of human efforts to achieve set targets in the rural area. (Ugochukwu, 2011).
Rural-Urban Migration: – This is the movement from rural area to urban area in search for greener pasture or as a result of inadequacy of social amenities and services in the rural area. (Abbas, 1993).