Problems and Solutions
By Dr. Gedion Getahun
A human being needs clear and healthy environment to exist. This needs a well balanced ecological and economical policy. Environmental problems have no limitations. They are regional, national and global. However, after the human being has realised that natural resources on this Planet have been exploited the term sustainable development has emerged. For about fifty years, for the first time in the history, the environmental pioneer ideas and programmes were discussed .In the beginning of the 70th the necessity to put economical developments on the same level with ecological sustainable programs was introduced.
Some of the ecological movements and the global environmental initiatives in our Planet are the following.
Pug wash Movement in
in Laxenberg (
1973: Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)
1980: Global 2000 (The Global 2000 Report to the President)
1984-1987: “Our Common future” (Dr. Med. Gro- Harlm Brundtland)
1988: The investigation commission of the German Parliament (Enquete-kommission)
for the precaution of the atmospheric pollution
Conference on Environment and Development (UNED), the Earth
1997: The Kyoto-Protocol
1999: The Global Compact programme initiated by UN-General Secretary Kofi Annan.
Global conference on sustainability Development in
2004: G-8 meeting in Gleneagles (UK)
Conference at Heiligendamm (
Despite the fact that several national, and international meetings, conferences, summits have been held, the equilibrium between ecology and economy has never been reached so far.
Global Environment concerns are:
i) Global Warming
ii) Deforestation and Greenhouse Gas Production
iii) Persistant Organic Pollutants,(POPs),
iv) Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes
v) Atmospheric Pollution from Civil and Military Air Craft, other gases (methane, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, sulphur dioxide etc.)
vi) Wreck of old Satellite and Rockets
vii) Radioactive Waste Disposal
viii) Chemical and Radiological Weapons.
Environmental impacts raised from the civil technology developments as well as from developments and applications of military technology, whether conventional, nuclear or radiological, they all belong to the global problems.
In the past 50 years or longer, chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons have been developed and applied in some part of the world. Chemical warfare like agent orange, agent blue, agent purple were used during the Vietnam War, others types of chemicals were applied in Kurdistan, Iraq, Tanganyika, (Africa) South America, Afghanistan etc. In all these areas, health, economical and ecological problems still exist. Let us examine the effects of Depleted Uranium (DPU) on human and his environment .
Uranium weapon system was manufactured and tested
Second, during the Gulf war oil tankers and oil wells were bombed. Firing these oil reservoir, had released millions of gallons of oil into the atmosphere above the desert, the oil which is organic product containing millions of Hydrocarbons and other chemical elements destroyed the ecosystem of the entire region. When it rains it will be carried by rain and storm and destroy the global environment. These types of contaminated areas have no border at all and they belong to the global environmental impacts.
with global warming and its effect on human and his environment, the
The main purpose of this protocol was that the industrialised countries should reduce the harmful green house gas emissions at five percent (5%) below the level of 1990. The reduction process has to be completed by the year 2012 .
The global warming is due to climate change. According to earth and atmospheric scientists, since 1900 the temperature of our Planet has increased by 0.7 ºC (Degree Celsius).
With global warming are associated, natural events like floods, hurricanes, that had occurred in the last two or three years in the world. In this context, also rising of sea level and ocean temperature can be mentioned.
To protect the environment and promote the exchange of information about Persistent Organic Pollutants (Pops) the UNEP  has organised the Stockholm Convention and has established an office known as Ozone Secretariat. The Secretariat deals with matters of the Vienna Convention for the protection of Ozone Layer and the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the Ozone Layer .
To control transboundary movement of hazardous wastes and to minimise the quantity the Basel Convention was established .
. Soil Erosion
. Land Degradation
. Emission & Industrial Pollution
. Wildlife Reduction
to the UN,
environmental problems in
development demands space for living and working. In
beginning of 1980 local and foreign farm enterprise services started flower
production for commercial purposes in
amount of agrochemicals have been imported into the country for the flower export
farming industries. These chemicals are hazardous, and are carcinogenic to
human and pollute the environment. About the impacts of such chemicals to the
environment, scientists and various NGOs as well as international
organisations, at the front the WHO and UNEP experts have confirmed long ago.
As it is the case in all developing countries, pesticides are introduced as
For soil development fertilizers like phosphor and nitrogen salts are applied. These guarantee the self sufficiency of food to the country by increasing the agricultural food production or by raising the production of the so called cash crops. Further more, except for plant protection, pesticides are also used to control the anophenline mosquito insect that transmit malaria disease. For these reasons, Persistent Organic Pollutants( POPs) like Aldrin, Chlordane, DDT, Dieldrin are used for a long period of time in the country, and their utility may continue until environmental friendly biological control agents have replaced them . These types of insecticides well give balanced agro-ecosystem. Until recently, there were about 2000 tones of obsolete pesticides as well as empty pesticide barrels stored in poor conditions at different places in the country.
Wonji Shoa, Metheara and Akakai are industrial towns of
The Ethiopia Wildlife had been reported as being seriously decimated. The reasons are as follows:
i) Professional Hunting of some African safari group, mostly from overseas
ii) Extensive hunting by the local people residing near to the national park area or close to the wildlife area.
iii) In most rural areas the farmers require land to be cultivated. They deforest the area to plough land for agriculture. Without any hesitation, this brings the decimation of flora and fauna of the surrounding region. Especially if irrigated agricultural land has to be cultivated in the National Park Area.
iv) The livestock of the farmers in the wildlife area un restless, and they chase away the wild animals from their living area. The livestock density results the degradation of natural resources and minimises the quantity of the wild animals.
It reduces the quality of their life as well.
v) Resettlement programmes from one region to another could bring a threat to wildlife, provided the resettlement occurs close to the wildlife reservation area.
Proposals to overcome the Current
Environmental Problems in
Human interference against the natural resources mainly for subsistence and economic reasons has to be solved. The natural forests require protection. The re-afforestation programme in the country should contain primarily indigenous plants and trees.
The secondary forest programme may also include the eucalyptus trees, which are good enough for energy and building purposes. However, eucalyptus trees need huge amount of water to grow and could make the region dry and bring erosion due to ground water problem.
In the past, wild fire has destroyed many of the forest areas of the country. Living an excess of economical and ecological damages behind. According to the Ethiopian Environmental Protection Authority, in the year 2000 wild fire in southern Bale and Borona Zone has devastated 80,733 hector forest area. The experts guess a loss of 39 Million of US Dollars approximately .
In the future, it is absolutely necessary to construct and build all weather roads, which enables the access into the wildlife and forest areas to extinguish the fire. Also protection by helicopters to spread fire extinguishing chemical and other additional safety measures will be required.
To save the depletion of natural forests, significant energy resources in the country like hydropower potential has to be harnessed. The technology of indigenous energy resources like natural gas, biomass, has to be developed in a modern technology and has to be used extensively. The development and the implementation of energy saving stove and fuel system for cooking and heating purposes for household, energy, etc will help. For this purpose alcohols like ethanol und methanol could be used. From sugar cane residues the alcohol fuel ethanol and from the natural gas extraction process the fuel gas methanol can be prepared .
Primarily, the programme development has to combine both biomass and other hydrocarbon resources to use as energy for heating, cooking, possibly to generate electricity for refrigeration and other household necessity.
the wood biomass, crop residue, dung, are the indigenous energy resources, also
petroleum is applied in the country to some extent. The capacity of the immense
hydropower potential of
Protection of the forest areas is highly essential so that it will not be converted into small bush and savannah, which latter becomes semi-arid zone. National – Biotope reservoir has to be developed and implemented throughout the country.
Agrochemicals (pesticides and fertilizers)
To protect emission and pollution in the surrounding region of the flower farm areas the application of isolated green house system is required. Strict measures should be taken for use and disposal of the pesticides in the country. This has the highest priority, if human health and environment has to be protected from hazard chemicals. The chemicals have to be used appropriately. It is the responsibility of the industries to clean their environment, recycle used water and other solutions and solvents, search contaminated areas and assess environmental remediation, and industrial decommissioning, when necessary. To improve the chemical handling and use, the national policy and legislation of the country should be exercised to the maximum. If the environmental laws and regulations made by the policy makers are not applicable into practice, the law should be reformed and updated.
If the chemicals are not used appropriately and accordingly, they will have an impact on air, soil, and water. On a long run, they will affect the health of the people exposed to them. Therefore, pollution control of the air, plants, soil, seas and rivers, ground water, of the industrial towns and their surrounding regions and health inspection or medical check up of the workers and employees has to be made by the authorities sequentially.
To fight against industrial pollution, ozone depletion, the dissemination of global chemicals
( POPs ), co-operation with scientists, environmentalists, and the UNEP experts is advisable. The Organisation of the African Union has to start to realise African Environmental Policy. Further more, the Ethiopian authorities should bear in mind, the statements of Stockholm Convention, the Montreal Protocol, as well as the Basel Convention continuously and put them into practice strictly.
Pollution and contamination occurred during and after wars in the world
. Prevention of arms where ever possible inclusive in outer space
. Nuclear disarmament with view to the ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons.
. The prohibition of development, synthesis, as well as implementation of
biological, chemical radiological and nuclear weapons in our planet.
. Full engagement to identify this harmful global chemical, ray in the environment
and effort to decontaminate, to save the human being and his environment through out
© Dr Gedion Getahun*
Research Scientist and Lecturer
Environmental Radioanalytical Chemistry
* Membership & Co-operation
Emerging Issues in Developing Countries
2) German Chemical Society (Gdch)
Analytical Chemistry and Ionising Radiation
3) Royal Society of Chemistry
Radiochemical Methods Group
 Depleted Uranium: The Trojan Horse of Nuclear War
By: Leuren Moret
World Affairs: The Journal of International Issues 1 July 04World Affairs
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UNEP Chemicals Newsletter
 Persistent Organic Pollutants
 Global Biodiversity Assessment
From Vision to Action: UNEP since UNCED
United Nations Environment Programme ISBN: 92-807-1657-2
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By Dr. Gedion Getahun
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