The impact of Inadequate Management and Conservation of the Environment in Africa

At the core of any sustainable society lies the concept of optimal management of natural resources. According to Brundtland the concept of sustainable development entails “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability for future generations to meet their own needs”.

Adequate management of natural resources is imperative in Africa to prevent and reduce socio economic challenges. Environmental problems facing Africa including soil erosion and declining soil fertility, deforestation, pollution, and loss of biodiversity. As our environment deteriorates, we will fail to meet present needs and actively compromise the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. At 3% a year, Africa has a fast-growing population. Due to inadequate management of resources, Africa will in the near future be unable to sustain this growth in population.

Land deterioration and desertification has contributed to poverty and poor wellbeing and quality of life as land has become incapacitated to adequately provide sustainable production of food supplies. Environmental deterioration also contributes to health threats. Polluted air and dirty water that results from lack of adequate conservation of the environment contributes to air and water borne diseases. Deforestation is another practice that plays a role in unsustainable agricultural practices. The Ecosystem is compromised due to cutting down of trees in the name of urbanization. Rural communities can no longer rely on nature to provide them with means to survive.

One may view the conservation of Nature in Africa, as an impediment on urbanization, and thus, inhibiting the progression of Africa to 1st world status. However, at the core of the success and growth of economies in Africa is agriculture. In Kenya for example, fishing is at the core of the economy. According to a survey by Kenya’s State Department of Fisheries, there are close to 134000 small scale fishers operating along Kenya’s coast. It is therefore, imperative to protect and conserve the rich waters of the Indian Ocean off the northern coast of Kenya, to sustain human life and the economy.

Considerable work is already taking place and being implemented by institutions and government officials, as well as communities to protect habitat and wildlife. In Kenya, the Nature Conservancy is working with Northern Rangelands Trust to improve fisheries, forecasts and wildlife management for the benefit of marine areas.  For  Africa as a whole, conservation action should include promotion of the sustainable use of natural resources, building sustainable agricultural practices and  developing alternatives to reliance on the heavy urbanization practices that contribute to pollution. The use of biotechnology should be considered as it can effectively contribute to future improvement food security.

Fishing in Shimoni, Kenya : AnnaKika | flickr

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Best of Africa.

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