Conservationists urge synergy to safeguard loss of wetlands
Conservationists have called for collective efforts towards protecting the nations’ wetlands against depletion as a result of unwholesome human activities.The group under the aegis of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) and the Birdlife International, made the call at the World Wetlands Day (WWD) 2020, held in Lagos.
The WWD is celebrated on 2nd February every year to raise awareness about the vital role of wetlands for people and the planet. The day also marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on February 2, 1971 in Ramsar, Iran. This year’s theme, “Wetlands and Biodiversity”, highlighted the need to protect wetlands and biodiversity.
Speaking on the significance of the day, NCF Head, Environmental Education, Mrs Abidemi Balogun said Nigeria’s wetlands are important to the wellbeing of the people and environment as they provide critical safeguards from natural disasters including droughts and floods, in addition to providing homes for an array of biodiversity.
Nigeria has numerous wetlands, including the Niger Delta, which is Africa’s largest wetland. These wetlands are important for water supply, agriculture and recreation and other ecosystem services. However, in recent times, these wetlands have come under intense pressure due to human activities.
She advised stakeholders to raise wider awareness amongst people in the environment on the importance of wetlands and their conservation at the local and national levels, and the need to create an enabling policy environment that builds national level commitment towards wetland conservation.
“We need to identify, protect, restore and manage critical wetlands through the implementation of their management plans and the engagement of all stakeholders including local communities in wetlands conservation. There is need for local communities, conservationists and local governments to work together to mitigate threats facing wetlands and NCF in conjunction with partners has been undertaking various conservation efforts focusing on wetlands conservation,” she stated.
Dignitaries in attendance include, a lecturer at the Department of Zoology, University of Lagos, Dr Excellence Akeredolu, nature enthusiasts, Paul Difiore, the Principal Education Officer, Ogudu Senior Grammar School, Mrs Khadijah Omotoso who led the school pupils to the event, and the technical officer of NCF, Joshua Dazi, among others.
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