Institutions established to cater for the control of pollution in the environment are very useful instruments for the prevention and control of pollution. In Nigeria and most developing countries these institutions are basically set up to provide services like water supply, garbage collection etc.; however, they yet have pollution control as mandate without the necessary instrumentation, data and expertise to function effectively. In this unit we shall examine the roles of these institutions in pollution control.
1. Water Pollution Control
Water pollution control is typically one of the responsibilities of a government as it aims to protect the environment for the good of the general public. Governments undertake to do this by establishing an appropriate set of organizations and launching programmes.
These interventions aim at achieving national, or regional, objectives that include, for example enhanced economic productivity, public health and well-being (all of which should, ideally, form part of a sustainable development strategy).
Water pollution control comprises four main functions: water quality management, regulation and standard setting, on site sanitation and collection and treatment of domestic and industrial waste water. Each function needs appropriate institutional arrangement in order to make the whole sub-sector work effectively. In many instances the regulatory function has proved to be a comparatively easy part of the overall task.
The types of institutional arrangements for water pollution control often differ, but not always from those for water supply. The optimal arrangement depend on the political and institutional environment, the economic policy, the roles and values of water in the country, the local topography and hydrogeology, and the natural environment.
Many types of arrangement exist and could fulfill the necessary requirements, No ideal type exists that could be prescribed to any country at any moment in the world. A prerequisite is that an appropriate match between the organizational mandates and structure and the institutional environment.
Depending on local conditions, the preferred organizations may have a particular scale and scope. Typically, however, water pollution control requires a relationship with water management and hence large scale (10-100km, covering a river or drainage basin or an agglomeration of municipalities).
Usually single municipalities are unable to generate the required vision, finance and technical knowledge. Where it is possible to enhance particular function, mergers with other sub-sectors or utilities may be advisable.
As water infrastructure is so expensive, the generation of finance is a key consideration for investment, and for operation and maintenance. Consequently, institutions must be designed to allow cost recovery. This necessitates devolution of decision making and operation maintenance to lower administrative levels, i.e. closer to the consumer and citizen.
In order to render the organizations flexible, task and performance oriented, and financially well managed, they require a large degree of autonomy. For this purpose, the conventional command and control must be deregulated and replaced by measures that ensure self- regulation.
This may include arrangement for competition (for service contracts, for example) avoidance or control of monopolies, or the prevention of executives organisations from regulating themselves. Delegated management and privatisation may be useful components in a deregulation strategy.
However, the institutional environment must be equally developed to ensure adequate control of the private partners and to avoid monopoly and cartel formation.
In Nigeria for example some of the institutional arrangements for water pollution control include the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Environment and Health. At the state levels, institutions like the State Ministries of Water Resources, Environment, Health and the Water Boards, Environmental Protection Agencies etc. exist.
At the international level, United Nations Agencies like the UNEP, FAO are relevant institutions that have stake in water pollution.
Role of Public and Private Agencies and Water Users
A wide range of public and private sector agencies are involved in drainage water management and they deal with issues of regulation, conservation and communication (NESPAK and Mott MacDonald, 1992).
In developed countries, drainage water management is usually the responsibility of both the individual farmer and some type of collective organization, such as an irrigation or drainage district, water user group or a municipal-type authority.
The collective organization may monitor the performance of on-farm drainage systems and ensure compliance with federal and local water quantity and quality regulations and standards. In much of the developing world, however, drainage development is at a low level and heavily dependent on government initiatives.
Individual farmers are responsible for on-farm drainage, but enforcement of regulations is difficult due to a lack of formal water quality standards, the absence of organized user groups, or weak enforcement capacity on the part of governmental institutions.
It is therefore important to redefine public (both central and local) and private sector roles in water management and to strengthen technical and management capacities for setting, monitoring and enforcing workable standards, and for promoting water conservation measures.
Such standards and measures are usually formulated within a framework of overall water and environmental policy at various levels in a country or region.
For example, in France, drainage improvement plans are expected to be in line with the regional water management master plan proposed by the country’s 1992 Water Law (Zimmer et al., 1996).
2. Air Pollution Control
In Nigeria for example, there are no specific institutions for the control of air pollution as such, like is the case with water, however, certain institutions like the state’s environmental protection Agencies and the Ministries of Environment both at the States and Federal have mandate of air pollution control. For most developing countries that is the case. Example of what obtains in Malaysia is illustrated in the figure below:
Malaysia: Institutional Arrangement for Environmental Management Fig. 2.1: Central Environmental Authority Responsibilities
The Department of Environment (DoE) is the primary authority with regard to the environment in Malaysia.
It comprises of five Divisions;
– Administration Division,
– Control Division,
– Development Planning Division,
– Assessment Division, and
– Information Technology Division. It also includes 13 other State offices, one of which is the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur.
State-level Authority: Department of Environment – Federal Territory Responsibilities Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur has its own State- level agency to handle its environmental problems and regulations. Its main function is to monitor sources of pollution from smoke and noise pollution from vehicles and works closely with City Hall of Kuala Lumpur in its environmental monitoring and enforcement.
LocalAuthority/Government– City Hall Responsibilities City Hall of Kuala Lumpur has eight departments that deal with planning, impacts resulting from development, management or monitoring of environmental pollution and other directly or indirectly related aspects in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur.
Work Share between City Hall and DoE
Pollution monitoring under the City Hall of Kuala Lumpur is very wide in scope, whereas the DoE focuses on more specific areas, previously mentioned above – smoke and noise pollution from vehicles.
With regard to enforcement, City Hall considers that enforcement concerning premises and factories should be turned over to DoE, along with enforcement of specific noise pollution control measures.
3. Food and Soil Pollution Control
The National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), the Environmental Health Officers Registration Council of Nigeria (EHORECON), and the Environment and Health authorities at the local Government levels have responsibility for food pollution or soil pollution control as the case may be in their various areas of jurisdiction in Nigeria.
The main objectives of these institutions are to:
– Ensure the wholesomeness of food meant for human consumption
– Prevent the adulteration of food
– Prevent the pollution of food with harmful substances
– Control the sale of counterfeit food products
– Also to prevent/control the pollution/degradation of soil
– Control the transfer of harmful substances from the soil into human food etc.
In conclusion, institutional arrangement for the control of pollution is very important for the control of pollution everywhere in the world. Governments and authorities must be encouraged and supported to control all aspects of pollution as a global initiative for sustainable development.
The various media of pollution; water, air, soil and food could have their institutional arrangements for pollution control in accordance with various national policies. In Nigeria, the important institutions include the Ministries of water Resources, Environment, Health, Agriculture and the various Agencies and authorities at the states and local Government councils respectively.