There may be diverse idea of what sustainability means conceptually. The question that arises is how many Nigerians have an idea of what this means in terms of infrastructures vis a vis our lifestyle and personal responsibilities towards sustaining these infrastructures? The likelihood is there to blame the governments and corporations within the state, where the progress of a society towards a sustainable infrastructure and quality lifestyle or future is viewed as inadequate. Given the high level of Infrastructural activities by Nigerian governments and organizations serving individuals in the state, what can we as individuals do to influence or sustain these infrastructures and maintain a quality lifestyle? How can engineers empower and equip Nigerians to live sustainably from day to day and what might a sustainable lifestyle look like? This paper seeks to answer some of these questions as well as what a sustainable infrastructure or quality lifestyle might mean in practice and what engineers can do to influence it. This is an extensive and complex subject that cannot be done justice to in one article, but hopefully as the theme develops, there may be some exchange of ideas that could help readers and engineers move in the right direction.
Sustainability is generally understood to mean something along the lines of not consuming resources faster than their production and not polluting the environment in an irreversible way. These resources may be environmental, economic or indeed societal. Many people believe they are living sustainably because they are doing better than others around them by for example separating their rubbish for recycling more than others or riding a bicycle to work rather than driving. How do we know if we are doing enough? Even those who work professionally in the area of sustainability rarely have truly sustainable lifestyles themselves, even if they advocate them for others. Often people suggest that they are not prepared to live sustainably as individuals until there is a collective movement with those around them doing the same; otherwise there is a feeling of self-sacrifice with little notable impact whilst those around them continue to live in relative luxury. Furthermore responsibility is often transferred when it is said that we need the development of centralized systems before we can live a fully sustainable lifestyle. For example, it is obvious we would use our vehicles to work and recreational facilities if the public transport sector or systems are not adequate or available?' Could this be quality lifestyle when hundreds of vehicles are on the roads, with people having to rise up early in the morning in order to meet up appointment of return back home late due to traffic jams in the cities which obviously is transferring to areas once considered rural? Between luxurious vehicles and provision of roads with adequate networks or good public transportation, the question is which is infrastructure and how could it be sustained for a quality lifestyle?
While putting up this article, I was impressed with the quote below in Akwa Ibom Online website on
‘Developing Akwa Ibom State through Interministerial Micro Projects’
objective requires a positive and dynamic partnership between the public and the private sectors as has now become the norm across the globe."
1.1 What then is infrastructure?
Infrastructure is the combination of fundamental systems that support a community, region, or country. It includes everything from water and sewer systems to road and rail networks to the national power and natural gas grids. Perhaps there will be a hydrogen or gas grid in the future as well.
1,2 What is the current state of our infrastructure and how do they impact quality lifestyle?
It is no secret that some infrastructure are either aging or failing, no longer suitable to giving us the quality lifestyle we desire and that funding has been insufficient to repair and replace them in the country. On the one hand, infrastructures currently provided by various government or political leaders in the country are not necessarily aimed towards improving the quality of our lifestyle but to meet some political stunts and gimmicks of best that or this in government. These infrastructures had no intent of uncovering the lifestyle of the people in order to meet them or educate the masses towards their use as provided. As a result, Engineers in the country therefore face the formidable challenge of modernizing the fundamental structures that support civilization or sustain these infrastructures and maintain a quality lifestyle.
For example, in the UK and other civilized world, daylight starts by about 3:00am while office opens by about 9:00am and offices close by 5:00pm while night lingers on till about 9:00pm depending on weather. The infrastructures provided in these countries are fast circuits, well planned and developed public transport systems and services, excellent eateries, shopping malls and markets that can deliver home services etc. it is typical for an office worker to maintain a quality lifestyle where besides they can catch any appointment by catching obtaining the current information on local transport, well timed and networked to any location. They can place orders or request on the phones, internet, etc and get the desired services.
The irony is that in Nigerian cities where similar infrastructures exist, an office worker in a place like Lagos will have to wake up by 3:00am from Iyana Ipaja and begin to come to work in Victoria Island, Lagos by 8:00am when offices opens, they will also leave office by 4:00pm and commence their long journey home with the attendant traffic jams so they can get home by 9:00pm. What this translates to is that the infrastructures provided in those countries will absolutely enhance quality lifestyle, while in Nigeria, workers would be hawking around the roads to sell food items, wait long queues on the road. The man abroad will definitely