Samuel O. Okafor Edwin M. C. Izueke Ifeoma Nzekwe Obara Okezi Abdulrouf Isah


Environmental pollution as well as the sustainability of the natural environment is the product of behavioural exchange obtainable in a particular geographical setting and space of time but reconciled by policy and administration approaches obtainable from public institutions. As a mark of policy design obtainable in each behavioural setting, each environmental setting has its own expected behavioural disposition towards its design, more or less the symbolic identity of the people living in the setting. However, libertarian paternalism as a policy design approach as well as a policy option creates an outlook of observation of human rights as well as system-induced behavioural modifications for maximum cooperation and policy sustainability. In southeast Nigeria among the six geopolitical zones of the country, environmental pollution has appeared as an identity for many cities over the years. While some scholars have looked into the matter from other dimensions, a research design targeting the essence of symbolic behavioural exchange in the understanding of the issue of urbanites and environmental policy administration and affecting natural environmental management and urbanites still needs to be created. Applying the theoretical framework of libertarian paternalism and a survey research design, this study adopted a coherent analysis to capture the behavioural exchanges towards the natural environment between urbanites and government institutions implementing environmental management policies. This was substantiated through primary data obtained via a quantitative data collection instrument, involving 640 respondents (aged 18+) from southeast Nigerian urban communities. The study adopted descriptive statistics as well as a linear model to analyse the data obtained. According to the findings of the study, there is evidence of wide environmental pollution behaviour among urbanites, a weak policy framework, and implementation elicited covert anti-environmental protection behaviour (R= 0.481, F= 38.097& P= .000). Commitment to environmental protection depended on the policy awareness and the public trust of the government institutions managing the environment; awareness of environmental issues, etc. (R= 0.906, F= 238.090 & P= .000). Government policies and the functionality of the government institutions managing environmental issues affected the public knowledge of the natural environment and support to the public policy on the management of the natural environment among urban settlers in southeast Nigeria (R= 0.818, F= 256.838& P= .000).