ASSESSMENT OF THE IMPACT OF ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION ON SANITATION IN EKITI STATE
This study investigates the impact of Environmental Education (EE) on sanitation practices in Emure LGA , Ekiti State, Nigeria. The analysis encompasses demographic variables, current sanitation practices, knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions, as well as the effectiveness of an EE intervention program. The findings reveal indicate a positive trend in waste management efforts by the state government (64%) and community engagement in clean-up initiatives (84%). Knowledge and attitudes toward sanitation highlight a high awareness of health risks (86%) and positive perceptions of government efforts (96%). An EE program demonstrated improved knowledge (54%), positive influence on cleanliness (42%), and observed changes in hygiene-related illnesses (68%). Challenges include behavioral complexity (54%) and lack of awareness (44%). Government support (90%) and infrastructure/resource availability (96%) were crucial for program success. Recommendations include strengthening EE initiatives, promoting community engagement, enhancing government support and policies, and designing tailored awareness campaigns.
1.0 GENERAL INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background of the Study
Environmental degradation, caused by human activities and rapid industrialization, has become a global concern, leading to a multitude of environmental issues such as pollution, deforestation, climate change, and dwindling natural resources (Awan, 2013; Olalekan et al., 2019). In response to these challenges, the concept of environmental education emerged as a means to raise awareness, empower individuals, and foster responsible and sustainable behavior toward the environment.
Environmental education encompasses a wide range of educational approaches that aim to promote environmental awareness, knowledge, skills, values, and attitudes. It encourages individuals to understand the interdependence between human societies and the natural world and to take collective action to mitigate environmental degradation. Environmental education encompasses a diverse array of educational strategies aimed at cultivating awareness, knowledge, skills, values, and attitudes related to the environment. It encourages individuals to comprehend the intricate connections between human societies and the natural world and to collectively address environmental degradation. This education fosters practical skills, nurtures values of stewardship and sustainability, and promotes a holistic perspective on interdependence and systems thinking. Ultimately, environmental education empowers individuals to take meaningful actions to mitigate environmental degradation and contribute to the well-being of both local and global ecosystems.
Sanitation, as an integral component of public health and environmental well-being, plays a critical role in safeguarding human health and preventing the spread of diseases. World Health Organization (WHO) defined sanitation as the means of collecting and disposing of excreta and community liquids and waste in a hygienic way. So as not to endanger the health and welfare and also for the social and environmental effects, it may have on people; people have been suffering from one disease to another without knowing the problems of their illness, the situation, and due to distress or dirty environment. Similarly, Iheke (2010) sees sanitation as the process of keeping places clean and hygienic, especially by providing a sewage system and a clean water supply. Inadequate sanitation practices, often exacerbated by a lack of awareness and knowledge, lead to the contamination of water sources, the proliferation of disease vectors, and the degradation of ecosystems.
Ekiti State, located in southwestern Nigeria, faces its own unique environmental and sanitation challenges. Despite being endowed with rich natural resources and cultural heritage, the state grapples with issues related to waste management, open defecation, and improper disposal of solid waste. Emure Local Government Area (LGA), a specific administrative subdivision within Ekiti State, is emblematic of these challenges.
The relevance of environmental education in addressing sanitation issues in Emure LGA cannot be overstated. A well-designed and effectively implemented environmental education program has the potential to empower individuals with the knowledge and skills required to adopt proper sanitation practices, reduce waste generation, and preserve the local environment. Therefore, understanding the impact of environmental education on sanitation practices in Emure LGA is essential for devising targeted strategies to address these pressing issues.
This study aims to assess the effectiveness of environmental education programs in Emure LGA, Ekiti State, with a focus on their impact on sanitation behaviors. By evaluating the existing environmental education initiatives, identifying gaps, and understanding the factors that influence their success, this research seeks to contribute valuable insights to the field of environmental education, public health, and sustainable development.
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