Black Looks - Including an African LGBTIQ+ Archive

Environment, Nigeria

Our waste is your waste and your waste is ours

The discussion on Climate Change has tended to focus on the impacts for the West. But this report on the sinking coastal regions of West Africa is a wakeup call for the continent.

Swathes of West Africa’s coastline extending from the orange dunes in Mauritania to the dense tropical forests in Cameroon will be underwater by the end of the century as a direct consequence of climate change, environmental experts warn.

“The coastline [as it is now] will be completely changed by the end of this century because the sea level is rising along the coast at around two centimetres every year,” said Stefan Cramer, Nigeria director of Heinrich Boll Stiftung, a German environmental NGO.

Lagos has been slowly sinking ever since I can remember with areas like Lagos Island and in particular Victoria Island constantly under water while the Atlantic sea claims inches each year to the point there is no longer a beach front for miles of the coast.

Thinking of climate change, the environment and pollution, I see plastic bags as probably the main environmental and educational challenge faced by Nigeria. There are simply millions of these everywhere including the sea. Beaches that 10 years ago were clean and bag free are now full of black and blue and white plastic bags; mountains of plastic rubbish – bags, bottles, containers – litter the roadside as there is no environmental consciousness. While the Europe cleans itself up, it uses Africa as a dumping ground of it’s own waste particularly electronic waste. But waste, whether plastic bags, electronic or toxic belongs to all of us. Batteries and computers dumped in Africa not only pollute locally but eventually the effects of the pollution come back to where they started – Europe and elsewhere.