Global Warming: Ogun Dreams Millions Of Trees

By BY TUNDE AKINGBADE   |   10 May 2010   |   4:41 pm  
OGUN State Commissioner for Environment, Dr. Adeleke Adedoyin, was one of the founding members of the old Federal Environmental Protection Agency and former General Manager of Ogun State Environmental Protection Agency. Adedoyin spoke with TUNDE AKINGBADE on plan to tackle his state’s major environmental problem, deforestation, hinting of a programme to grow millions of trees to act as carbon sink. Excerpts:

What has been the contribution of Ogun State to combating climate change problems? In our case here in Ogun state in particular, we are aware of the problem of global warming and we are trying to find a solution by introducing the “Emission” control scheme, which we have put in place in the past two years. The concept is to make sure that vehicular emission is reduced. It is also meant to reduce industrial emission through careful monitoring and encouraging our people to do a lot of maintenance of their equipment. We are getting there even though the cooperation is not as expected. That is because we thought when we started this other states in the federation will hook up on the programme. Unfortunately, they are still dragging their foot. It’s only Lagos State that is trying to do something on air quality, which has something to do with emission control.

I remember four years ago when we were at a meeting of Commissioners of Environment of the federation, it was one of the communiqué that we should look into the problem of Climate Change and emission control. Unfortunately, no state has looked into that. So, we are doing that and we intend to further control this activity by introducing emission control in the use of electricity generating sets both at home, in the office and industries. It’s not going to be an easy task but we know we must start from somewhere. That’s been our contribution to Climate Change.

You have had erosion problems in Ogun State in the past and with the erratic weather, unpredictable rains with flash floods in Ijebu-Ode and other areas. What is the situation now?

You see again, it boils down to the issue of climate change due to our excessive use of natural resources without compromising replenishment. Most of the things we see — erosion, flooding– are as a result of the excessive use of resource. One, cutting down of trees without replanting is a problem.

Two, building all surface land with concrete. In other words, when rain falls, it will erode the remaining part of land that is exposed to harsh sun rays. These are some of the root causes of the disasters. Now talking about climate change, our excesses on the use of resources because we have continued to deplete the natural resources to a level which honestly has resulted in the rise in temperature. It has resulted in the rise in the water level along the coastal areas. So, this altogether is creating the problem. What happened the last time that you talked about was flooding of some parts of Ogun State.

What we could do was to give the victims some relief materials, some palliatives to give them succour. Some were even materials for them to rebuild their houses. But that’s not the issue. The problem of climate change has now caught the attention of the whole world as you can see in the last UNFCCC meeting in Copenhagen .

This is because the problem is not what affects one particular location, it is global. Unless we tackle this problem, disasters will continue to happen. As you have the problem in Europe and America where they are highly industrialized, we have our problems too and we must put our heads together to see how we can solve the problem. The flooding, the erosion, are as a result of our excesses in the use of natural resources. Of course, we should not forget that in some of our areas, the drainages are blocked with waste. This is part of the habit we should have gotten rid off. But we still try to enlighten people about waste management and how not to block the drainages with waste. People in this country still dump wastes in unauthorized places. It is very sad that we are still in this situation.

Your state has forest resources in Ikenne area, Olokemeji, Ilaro and other places. You have a group that you are about engaging in tree planting to replenish the lost forest areas. Give us more insight?

My group is a political movement. It’s called Asoludero Solidarity Movement. It’s a political movement basically to support Otunba Gbenga Daniel’s administration to disseminate information about the government’s activities. It is a group to make people have access to what the governor is doing and propagate the Governor’s progamme. But that is politically. In this group, we have about 18,000 people spread all over the 20 local government areas. People in the group have a lot of energy. And it will be wise to make them channel their energy into another area.

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