IMPACT OF URBANIZATION ON ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH QUALITY
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1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Contemporary globalization and urbanization is reproducing classic conditions historically associated with the emergence of infectious diseases and the periodically recurring pattern of epidemics and pandemics. The dynamics of contemporary globalization has contributed to various institutional gaps that make dealing with infectious diseases is increasing difficult and threaten concentrated human populations with potential calamity (Gibson and Gumer, 2012). Over the past few decades, there has been a rapid urbanization of the world’s population.
According to Chilala (2015) Rapid urbanization has significant repercussions on migrants’ health. The increasing movement of people from rural to urban areas often alters the characteristic epidemiological disease profile of the country and at the same time new diseases appear or old ones remerges. Such is the case of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and recent case of Ebola and Lassa fever. Urbanization is also associated with changes in diet and exercise that increase the prevalence of obesity with increased risks of type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Philip (1993) defines Urbanization as involves a physical change in which increasing proportions of populations live in urban settings. It also implies considerable changes in the ways in which these people live, how they earn their livelihoods, the food which they eat, and the wide range of environmental factors to which they are exposed. There is another underlying assumption that, increasingly, urban populations will be healthier than their rural counterparts and those higher levels of urbanization will equate with better health status.
It is however; manifestly evident that in many cities, particularly in the developing world, the poor are exposed to greater risks and have much lower health status than their richer neighbours. In addition, whilst urban residents may theoretically have a better access to health care and services than do residents in many rural areas, and whilst many indicators of health do appear better in more highly urbanized societies than ones less so, there are caveats Vlahov et al., (2007). In certain cities in middle-income countries, residents, particularly the poor, are exposed to a double risk of both infection and chronic degenerative ailments. It has been emphasized that urbanization, and the concentration of human beings into new areas in particular, can bring exposure to new risk factors for large numbers of people. The growth of infectious and parasitic disease in some urban settings must therefore be recognized, as must the emergence of chronic diseases, with the concomitant need for investment in new types of health and social care. However, a number of constraints militate against the achievement of improved urban health, especially in developing countries (Ojogbe, 2002; Kotz, 2009; Salau, 2012).
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. While specific objectives include:
- To determine the challenges of Urbanization on the health of the populace
- To examine if there are any remedies in handling these challenges
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