Nigeria's Most Popular City on the Brink of Submersion

Nigeria's Most Popular City on the Brink of Submersion

Lagos, Nigeria: the largest city in Africa's most populous nation may wash away. In a few years, it may become uninhabitable due to the rising sea levels from climate change. People often move to this bustling city to seek out new opportunities and improve their lives. Home to the "Nollywood" industry, aka Nigerian Hollywood, it's devastating to think that such a lively, pop culture hub could be completely wiped out from flooding. 

While the city often experiences yearly floods throughout the span of March to November, in mid-July of 2021, residents faced some of the worst floods in recent years. Buildings and cars are completely submerged underwater which means people are quickly losing their loved ones, homes, and ways of getting about life. 

Floods are detrimental to the economy-- as a megacity that already grapples with poverty levels, Lagos' missions to further develop and improve standards of living are being eroded. Lagos is especially overcrowded, which strains resources and puts pressure on sewer systems. With inadequate technology, ineffective draining systems, uncontrollable population growth, and its eroding coastline, Lagos is very susceptible to greater damage in following years.
Sand mining, the extraction of sand from river beds, dunes, beaches, etc., is a major contributor to the city's quickly fading shoreline. Lagos' riverbed is washing away, specifically in the Victoria Island area. Thus, there is hardly a barrier against the rising water levels making its way to the land. Lagos is home to many low-lying neighborhoods and areas-- with levels increasing, lack of financial support, and the pollution from human action, such areas could sink and be permanently submerged by 2100. 

Increasingly, Nigeria's floods are becoming more fatal and destructive. Lagos' environment is extremely vulnerable to the terrors of climate change and their inability to fix their drainage systems, clogged gutters, and waste management systems heightens the damage of these floods. Nigerian leaders are attempting to take the crucial steps in making sure their cities stay afloat-- they are willing to strengthen connections with global allies, like the US, to help tackle climate change and improve their overall economy. 

There is a great demand for greater governmental action. Environmental experts are encouraging authorities to partner up with private sectors to gain the support needed to combat these issues. Nigeria's Ministry of Environment is also aiming to create and revamp national polices to address climate change and reduce the country's vulnerability to flooding. Global warming is continuing to endanger communities and nations-- polar ice caps are melting left and right, thus bringing the seawater to dangerous levels. The higher it gets, the more it will wipe out coastal cities and even places that are more inland. 

Written by Jasmine Kwok, Artwork by Naomie Njetchou

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