. . . As State Celebrates World Wetlands Day
The Lagos State Government on Sunday renewed its call for the conservation of wetland resources in the State, saying they represent a critical part of the natural environment.
Making the call during an interview as part of activities commemorating the 2020 World Wetland Day, the Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tunji Bello noted that wetlands also help in reducing the impacts of flood, absorb pollutants and improve water quality.
Bello said that Lagos as a coastal State has associated with the rest of the world in marking the 2020 World Wetlands day with the theme: “Wetland and Biodiversity”.
He stated that this year’s theme “Wetland and Biodiversity” is unique and gives the opportunity to highlight wetland biodiversity, its status and its relevance.
The Commissioner called for actions to reverse the loss of wetlands as they nowface unprecedented extinction rates, threatening ecosystems with severe consequences for human survival.
He stated that government is seizing the opportunity of the World Wetlands day to sensitise Lagosians on the importance of wetlands, calling for more community participation in wetlands management and conservation in the State.
“This year’s celebration is dwelling more on creating awareness against encroachment and abuse of wetlands, educating people on the importance of wetlands to the ecology and economy of the State, and to foster community participation in wetlands management in the State” he said.
He maintained that Wetlands were vital for human survival, explaining that they areunique and distinct ecosystems that are flooded, either permanently or seasonally by water and known to sustain enormous life and also provide valuable economical services to humanity.
Noting that wetlands are one of the world’s most productive environments, Bello said they serve as cradles of biological diversity that provide water and engender the sustenance as well as survival of countless species of plants and animals.
He stressed that wetlands are blessings to the communities where they exist because they serve as water reservoir, fertile for food and vegetable production, hand crafts and shelter, adding that they provide abode for cultural, recreational and tourist activities.
While emphasising the vital roles of wetlands, Bello said they are faced with many threats from human activities and are the most threatened ecosystems globally.
“It is rather unfortunate that enough consideration is not given to Wetlands, as encroachment and abuse of Wetlands is a common experience to the extent that majority of the Wetlands in the State had been reclaimed with refuse and in some cases sand filled for conversion to other uses” he said.
To stem this development, the Environment Commissioner revealed that the Government would step up its monitoring and advocacy programme and ensure stakeholders’ collaboration for the protection of the State’s wetland resources.