The need to expand economic activities and to produce more food, fibres and other raw materials to feed, clothe, house and improve the living conditions of the rapidly expanding population of most agro-ecological area/zones has commonly led to the mismanagement of natural resources and to the degradation of the physical and biological environments, such that the long term, sustained yield use of renewable natural resources will be impossible. The physical environment of the District exhibits Savannah woodland made up of short grassland with small clumps of bush and trees as well as Mangrove forests in the marshlands.
Bushfire has become a prominent annual ritual in all parts of the District. This is attributed to hunting of game, farming and the natural habit of setting fire to the bush. Bush fire in particular has contributed greatly to the reduction of the forest cover in the District. In addition to its effect on vegetation, the rampant bush burning in the area is causing air pollution. Although the degree and effect of air pollution cannot easily be ascertained, there is the need to show concern for its potential damage to the environment.
The drying up and siltation of rivers is another environmental challenge to the aquatic eco-system of the District. The scanty tree cover causes most of the river bodies to dry up easily in the dry season. Inappropriate farming practices often result in the siltation of river bodies. This affects the amount of water available for human use during the dry season.
Farming Practices and Sand Winning
Farming also causes a great deal of destruction to the environment. Though the traditional farming system of bush-fallowing allows lands once cultivated to regain its fertility after some time, the rate of recovery could be slow. The bush fallow system also causes destruction to the forest cover as trees are cut down to make way for new farms.
Sand winning is another major activity that is fast destroying. The use of land Crete and sand Crete in housing construction makes sand winning a household activity. Another activity that promotes sand winning in the District is feeder road construction. These activities are fast reducing the quantity and quality of the environment through unsustainable exploitation of natural resources. Sustainable development in such a situation becomes impossible.
Removal of the forest cover decreases the land’s ability to retain water during the rainy season. The alteration in the hydrological cycle resulting from deforestation can hinder crop production in the District in the not too distant future.