Desertification is knocking at our doorsteps and we, as a people and government, shouldn’t continue to play the ostrich as we have always done!
Users of Facebook from all over were Thursday inundated with pictures of “Sunset at noon” from residents of Yola, the Adamawa state capital. The pictures ranged from artistic, to amateur. Some even did “before and after” showing how – to lend from biblical usage “darkness enveloped the earth” at 3:30 pm.
For some of us that have had this experience many times over in more arid regions of the country, we can always explain it away albeit with some trepidation when the darkness really comes. For others born, bre(a)d and “buttered” in Yola, it must have been like a rehearsal of Armageddon; a time to “cut cap for mother nature and if you are religious enough, for He who created it all.
It has come and gone. Amnesia (which is a common disease of Nigerians) has set in and pushed the experience far away for many people. Only a few will lie in bed tonight, ponder and ask questions such as what is this? Why is it happening NOW? What went wrong? Will it continue to happen? Can it be stopped? Only a few more discerning ones would want to dig up possibilities. Truth is, whether you think of it or not, we are all in the same boat. If the effects of what has happened come, it will affect all of us.
Let me blow your minds with a few facts about the disaster sandstorms are wrecking presently somewhere in the world. Iraq.
- Iraq has seen seven 7 sandstorms in one month
- Over 5,000 people are currently seeking medical attention for respiratory problems and one person has died
- 749 people were brought to hospitals in just ONE night (4/5/2022)
- Numerous flights were grounded and dozens have been hospitalized.
Scientific research published in a Natural Science Journal in 2013 says,
“the frequency of the occurrence [desertification] has increased drastically in the last decade and it is increasing continuously”
This means Sandstorms in Iraq will continue to get more frequent and pose bigger problems than what’s seen today.
Let me bring this home.
“A sandstorm is described as a natural phenomenon that occurs when a strong wind, such as a gust front, blows fine sand particles and dust from a dry surface. These particles become suspended in the air, causing erosion where they initially were.”
Sandstorms are notorious for their harmful effects, especially on the environment, health, economy, and the livelihood of people. Soil erosion has also been one of the effects of such storms. This accelerates the process of land degradation.
Moreover, desertification of grasslands has started to occur in several portions of the world, including Nigeria and Adamawa.
Sandstorms carry with their large volumes of sand and dust. But more than sand, they also carry with them virus spores that interact with the atmosphere. Because of this, the spread of diseases has become prevalent around the world.
We have had just ONE sandstorm in Yola today! That means a lot of areas around us are becoming dry, and arid and are prone to wind erosion even in May when usually farmers have started planting.
Jippu Jam Roundabout, Yola
The import is that the desertification is knocking at our doorsteps and we as a people and government shouldn’t continue to play the Ostrich as we have always done! Climate change and its adverse effects are no more rhetoric we hear in the news or world forums!
It’s just a timely warning. We have to wake up and smell the coffee! If we do not want to go the way of Iraq, we must pay a little more attention to the environment.
- We must plant trees!
- We must stop indiscriminate bush burning!
- We must intentionally make our environment green!
- The ministry of environment can not continue to be docile!
- Government MUST take into account the force of nature while building our cities!
Imagine if our roads in Yola have trees planted on the sides and the middle after beautiful constructions and not sealed with interlocks and concrete the way it is happening currently.
I greatly appreciate governors Bindow and Fintiri for the infrastructure revolution, but when I see the “concrete lamination” of the Jippu Jam roundabout instead of grasses, and the lack of provision for greenery at the flyover and underpass sites [attracts desertification], it makes me thirsty, thirsty for GREEN!