Impact Of Urbanization On Environmental Health Quality

Project and Seminar Material for Environmental Science

Impact Of Urbanization On Environmental Health Quality


Urbanization refers to general increase in population and the amount of industrialization of a settlement. It includes increase in the number and extent of cities. It symbolizes the movement of people from rural to urban areas. Urbanization happens because of the increase in the extent and density of urban areas. Due to uncontrolled urbanization in India, environmental degradation has been occurring very rapidly and causing many problems like land insecurity, worsening water quality, excessive air pollution, noise and the problems of waste disposal. This paper emphasizes on the effect of urbanization on environmental components mainly climate, biosphere, land and water resources. A case study of urbanization in calabar metropolitan have been carried out leading to conclude on the existing causes of damage to the environment due to urbanization and preventive measures to keep a check on them. Although it is impossible to restrict urbanization it has to be ensured that urbanization proceeds in the right path causing minimum impact on environment.

Chapter One


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).

The consequence of this phenomenal population increase over the years is its impact on land and infrastructure, generating a lot of pressure on these resources, which transcends into urban challenges for the sustainable development of the Calabar. These challenges include land cover manifestation in erosion, deforestation, pollution, solid waste menace, housing shortage, inadequate water supply, traffic congestion and high cost of food (Ejaro, 2009). This gives rise to the emergence of urban slumps.

Increasing city population simultaneously affect various climatic and social communal indices, such as the pressure on utilities and basic amenities, green house gas emissions, waste creation and management, urban planning changes to biotic and a biotic components of the environment, deforestation, energy consumption ,pollution , intensive agricultural and ground exploitation etc.

A sustainable urban center/city or eco-city is one designed with consideration of environmental impact. It is inhabited by people dedicated to minimizing its required inputs of energy, water and waste, output of heat, air pollution, carbon dioxide, and methane and water pollution. A sustainable city is one that can power itself and manage its water, energy consumption and development with the aim of creating the smallest possible ecological footprint and the lowest quantity of pollution possible .A Sustainable urbanization is when the process (of urbanization) can maintain the population it harbors within the context of water and sanitization, energy, waste management, shelter and housing, finance, slum management, IT and training; at the same time keeping the urban city overall contribution to climate change very minimal (UNH 2007).

Whenever there is a pressure exerted on or inadequacy relative to any of the above indices the resultant development is an urban slum.

A slum as defined by the United Nations as a run-down area of a city characterized by substandard living conditions and squalor, and lacking in tenure security. This term was originally referred to affluent housing areas that are deteriorated due to its inhabitants migrating to other places; but has now come to include failed and informal housing settlements (Wikipedia, 2011).

The urban slum population has risen to an approximate 828 million in 2010 from 767 million in the year 2000 (Green, 2010) with 327 million in common wealth countries (UN, 2006). This drastic rise in the emergence of urban slums has led to the recognition of a new phenomenon referred to as urbanization of poverty by world bodies.

In the United Nations Millennium declaration, which was adopted in 2000, the international community recognized that to halve the population of urban poverty by the year 2015, there is the need for both rich and poor countries to be committed to addressing the needs of the burgeoning population. The goals include those dedicated to eradicating poverty, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health battling HIV/AID and malaria and environmental sustainability. Nigeria is a signatory to the Millennium declaration and therefore has the responsibility of implementing its goals.

1.2 Statement of Research Problem

The new federal capital city was conceived to be a befitting city, which is a sustainable city where environmental degradation, inadequate infrastructural facilities like electricity, water supply and roads e.t.c that made Lagos most unbearable at the time was addressed. In planning the city three basic principles guided the formulation of the Calabar master plan namely:

  • The principle of beautiful city
  • The principle of functional city
  • The principle of environmental conservation (D PB, FCDA, 2010)

Federal Capital district plans were developed for an estimated population of 150,000-200,000/district (WRT, 2011).
The population of Calabar in the last census (2006) is estimated to be 1,406,239 with an annual growth rate of 9.28% (NPC, 2006), over a 10year period of study (1987 and 2006). This census figure has since been exceeded in the last four years. Calabar is mainly experiencing an influx of urban migrants from several parts of the country due to attraction of employment opportunities, changes in seat of government e.t.c. On the 7th of September 2011 alone immigration authorities had to escort back 152 persons, trying to enter the CALABAR in search of greener pastures, back to their states of origin (Mukhtar, 2011).

Infrastructural development for the FCC (federal capital city) has already entered the 3rd phase but is still unable to provide basic amenities for the various on-going accelerated developments (encouraged by the federal government) to cater for the population of Calabar.

1.2 Research Question

  1. What is responsible for the rapid urbanization of environmental health in Calabar?
  2. What is the impact of rapid urbanization on environmental health in Calabar?
  3. What measures are in place to mitigate rapid urbanization in environmental health in Calabar?

1.3 Aim and Objectives

The aim of this research is to examine the impact of rapid urbanization on sustainable environmental health in Calabar

The objectives of the study are:

  1. Find out what is responsible for the rapid urbanization of environmental health in Calabar
  2. Evaluate the impact of rapid urbanization on environmental health in Calabar.
  3. Profile infrastructural facilities and services available (health, education, transportation etc), the state of utilization and challenges.
  4. Proffer possible recommendations to the study.

1.4 Significance of Study

The study, impact of rapid urbanization on sustainable environmental health in Calabar, Cross River State; could be an important research document for policy makers, researchers, academia, public servants and government agencies. It can assist policy makers to further deliberation on urban renewal, urban migration and population increase with respect to infrastructural provisions and development in the Calabar; thus assisting government on effective and efficient policy implementation.

This research study will also present public administrators with relevant information that will assist in urban classification of Calabar’s environmental state in respect of indices of sustainable living; it will also assist them in deliberations and proffering possible recommendations for effective policies. Above all, it is hoped this study will be useful as a reference material for scholars and researchers.

1.5 Scope of Study

The scope of this study will examine the rapid urbanization on the environment and sustainable development of suburb in Calabar; and also the rate of urban sprawl in this area on the bases of its impact on the surrounding environment, and in relation to sustainable development.

Chapter Five

Summary and Conclusion

The aim of the research study was to examine the impact of rapid urbanization on the sustainable development of Calabar, Calabar. Both primary and secondary data were analyzed in order to achieve objective inferences.

Questionnaires were employed in order to obtain population data relative to demography, housing, socio-economic and infrastructural facilities available, their state of utilization and challenges.200 questionnaires were given out to respondents living in Calabar of which 148 were recovered.

Secondary data used in the research study include:

  1. Two land sat ETM (30M resolution) satellite data images covering the Calabar and focusing on Calabar settlement for the years 2001 and 2011 which were analyzed for change detection based on the following categories: –Area coverage of land cover types -Categories of land cover types -Rate of change of built-up area
  2. Millennium Development Goals Baseline Data Report and Urban and Regional Planning Department Enumeration reports on Calabar.
  3. Nigeria census data of 1991 and 2006 will be analyzed for comparative population data analysis.
  4. The Calabar master plan as prepared by the Urban and Regional Planning Department of FCDA.
  5. Health and educational facilities data obtained from the Department Of Fiscal Policy And Implementation, FCDA and FCDA Health Services Department.

From the result of the studies, the following observations were made.

  1. There has been a steady rise in the population documented by the national population commission. This rise has led to a high rate of population change (72.03%) with an annual growth rate of 14.6%The Calabar master plan has been fully implemented, but has undergone several violations owning to increase in population over the last two decades. In this regard the CALABAR administration is considering a report which proposes complete demolition and relocation of Calabar labour camp.
  2. There are eleven (11) fully registered hospitals that serve the populace of Calabar, including the Calabar general hospital. From the response obtained from the questionnaire over 60% of respondents attend to their primary medical care in Calabar. This lead to the conclusion that primary healthcare facilities are basically adequate though there is the need to improve on secondary health care.
  3. Sixteen (16) educational facilities are located in Calabar, nine (9) of which teach up to secondary education level. 50% of respondents who are with children have them attending school at Calabar .
  4. Considerable change has taken place in the land use of Calabar within the last decade, with the highest rate of change occurring within the transition and new development (bare ground) land category with a percentage rate of change of 26.28%.
  5. As evident from the response of the questionnaires received from respondents, over 50% of respondents are aged between 20 – 30years (youths) with over 72% of this population migrating to Calabar within the last decade. A greater percentage of this population (34%) moved to Calabar without any concrete evidence of earning a living (family reasons).

This phenomenon will have a negative effect on all aspects of sustainable living within Calabar.

The results of the questionnaires also indicate that of the 60% of respondents living within permanent structures analyzed only 17.5% are owner occupier within their residence. Results also indicate the level of inadequacy of waste management facilities and its administration within the metropolis; access to electric power supply and the World Wide Web which enhance sustainable living are also at very low percentages.


It is evident from conclusions drawn, owing to this research process that urban and regional planning and maintenance processes have not been updated to take the current population boom experienced in Calabar,(especially within the last decade), into cognizance. The following recommendations are proffered as a road map to sustainable development of Calabar.In its bid for the urban renewal of Calabar, the government of the CALABAR should not demolish the entire labour camp; rather CALABARA Administration, the departments of Fiscal Planning, Department of Development Control, Urban and Regional Planning department (FCDA), National Population Commission and Calabar Geographical Information Systems (AGIS); should work in conjunction to design and implement an urban renewal plan that will address the challenges of adequate roads, pipe borne water, waste management facilities, green areas and environmental checks such as storm drainage and access for firefighting equipments.

This plan should also check and correct all violations evident in the mushrooming of semi- permanent structures around the Calabar environs.

While there seems to be an adequacy of educational facilities within Calabar and its environs, there is the need for at least one more government run secondary healthcare facility to cater for the populace.

Waste management seems to be a major concern, as is evident from physical observations and respondent data from the questionnaires, (77.7% of respondents do not have access to waste management facilities, while 62.83% of these respondent either keep it for touts to collect or throw it on the streets). All sorts of waste when disposed of without recourse to the environment, not only poses a danger for it, but also to safety and health of the living population.

Waste separations should be easy to practice with the proper government policy in place.

The government through the AEPB should then sensitize the populaces and the relevant officials should be on site to implement and enforce the policy.

Incineration is also another method of waste management that could also be used to generate power. The government should then provide sufficient landfill and waste management facilities to implement proper disposal.

Government of the CALABAR should also create and sustain a land policy that will address the issue of housing for the lower income earners and squatters, towards the outskirts of Calabar.

This policy could be implemented, using incentives. When implemented it will not only solve the overpopulation issue of Calabar but also provide much needed revenue for the Federal Capital Territory.

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