Regaining Nigeria’s environmental treasures 

Environmental pollution in Makoko, Lagos PHOTO:

Sir: This year’s World Earth Day celebration theme Environmental and Climate Literacy was a vital premise to advocate for protection of our environment with emphasis on climate literacy. Basically, environmental and climate literacy refers to knowledge, effects, benefits and importance of our planet’s surrounding and temperature. Interestingly, earth is the only planet in the cosmos where life is possible so it is very essential to maintain the natural endowments of the earth to enjoy life on earth and not endure it as humans are swiftly pushing with the increased rate at which carbon emissions and careless attitudes plummet ideal natural balance, which supports life to stay healthy and alive.

Earth day celebration has been a long time coming, since it was first marked 1970, thereafter every 22nd day of April was adopted for the purpose of making humans aware and appreciate the importance of the planet. It has grown in leaps and bounds from the United States of America and is now observed today in about 195 countries across the world, obviously with Nigeria on the list; how then does Nigeria mark April 22?

In line with 2017 theme, “Environmental and Climate Literacy,” there is a call for increased participation and efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change and global warming through environmental conservation, education and advocacy to encourage environmental sanitation.

Nigeria in particular is faced with many environmental challenges: Increased industrialisation and burning of fossil fuel (CO2) depleting the ozone layer which prevents us from the ultra violet rays of the sun has made atmospheric temperature very hot and most times unpredictable in many areas. Another big problem is the death of rivers and waterways getting mixed with industrial toxic materials leading to global warming, with increasing industrialisation leading to deforestation and destruction of vegetative zones, which help carbon sequestration and mitigate the depletion of ozone layer.

Today our surroundings are dirty and littered with non-biodegradable materials and solid waste constituted in many areas blocking drainages and water ways giving rise to health and environmental hazards. It is unfortunate that we presently lack the technology. However, our massive human capacity, knowledge, financial resources and political can remedy the present menace- if we collectively get down to work.

Unfortunately, our planet is presently losing about 15 billion trees each year, that is about 56 acres of forest every minute, Nigeria perhaps has the highest rate of deforestation in the world losing about 4,000 hectares yearly according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), with demands for fuel wood, agricultural land and housing for our ever increasing population is plundering our forest covers and waste gaining disrepute for Nigeria due to its obvious but humiliating image it constitutes to the nation with no displayed effort at getting rid of the waste scattered all over.

Although, it is perceived as the duty of the government to enhance, maintain and enforce environmental laws and order at both federal and state levels; having noted the non-performance or the unfocused effort, much lies on you and I to fill in the vacuum for active public campaigns and environmental advocacy.

The government of the day is encouraged to lead in terms of strategies, policies and enforcement to ensure that its citizens understand the urgent need to avert the impending danger; to grossly reduce the ˜unearthly rate of logging, poaching, gas flaring and deforestation. There are worthy examples in some developed nations, Nigeria can and should take a cue.

Udo-Azugo Somtochukwu wrote from Lagos.

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