The Impact of Anthropogenic Environmental and Landform Degradation on the Socio-cultural Dimensions of Sustainable Development in Nsukka Area
The realisation of almost all the 17 goals and 169 targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) depend on the health and stability of the ecological system’s environment. Human health and wellbeing; water and sanitation; energy; industries; human habitation; consumption and production, climate change; life below water; and life on land, are some of the environment-related issues that are specifically implicated in the SDGs. This makes the environment a major factor in this global programme. Using the ‘Disaster pressure and release model’ of Ben Wisner et al, the ‘Risk society theory’ of Ulrich Beck, and the ‘Ecological modernisation theory’ of Arthur P.J. Mol et al, as our theoretical backbone, and applying the Symbolic Interactionist methodological approach, together with In-Depth Interviews and Focus Group Discussions, we identify hillside excavations, erosion, flooding, solid waste pollution, and the degradation of arable land as some of the environmental issues that are antithetical to sustainable socio-cultural development in Nsukka society. From all indications, these environmental and landform problems have their sources mostly from economically oriented human activities. It is our strong conviction that the rectification and mitigation of these problems should also come through human activities, in the form of an ‘Anthropogenic Reversal’. We therefore recommend that for the achievement of the goals of sustainable development in this area, there should be, among other things, a revolutionary and innovative restructuring and re-packaging of the mechanisms, management and integrity of: the town planning authority; refuse disposal system; and drainage network in the Nsukka society, which is an out-post of the Nigerian society. Some of these recommendations might eventually be of some theoretical and practical relevance for the rectification and mitigation of similar situations in other sections of the Nigerian society.