The Lagos State Government on Friday renewed calls for stimulating action to Conserve Biological Diversity towards preserving and protecting the earth.
Speaking at a virtual Conference to mark the year 2020 World Environment Day, the Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tunji Bello stated that biodiversity represents a critical part of the natural environment
He explained biodiversity as an essential asset that must be sustainably managed, wisely utilised and conserved for present and future generations.
Bello reiterated that the World Environment Day is a global event, celebrated annually on the 5th of June to appreciate and demonstrate support for environmental protection, adding that the event has remained a flagship campaign for raising awareness on emerging environmental issues such as climate change, pollution, wildlife crime and caring for nature amongst others.
While describing this year’s theme “Biodiversity: Time for Nature” as very apt as it is typically a measure of variation at the genetic, species and ecosystem level, he outlined the importance of biodiversity to include the provision of food security, environmental stability, National biological heritage and recreational values, amongst others.
Bello raised concerns that the biodiversity of Lagos State, and indeed the world, was being threatened by rapid urbanisation related factors, stressing that Lagos as a coastal State is blessed with a rich ecosystem and great biodiversity in both plants and animals.
The Commissioner cautioned that the environment must not be destroyed for development and survival, stressing that biodiversity should be preserved because of its wildlife and natural attributes in order to attract people to the location.
“These ecosystems are home to a rich variety of aquatic and terrestrial plants and animals. Sadly, all these are under serious threat of extinction from a range of causes, which include rapid urbanisation”, he said.
Averring that the Lagos State government’s commitment to the sustainable management of its biodiversity is unwavering, Bello said the various laudable plans and programmes of this administration, such as the deliberate exposure of students to wetlands, zoological gardens and conservation areas, through the introduction of ecotourism programme for students, attest to the government’s resolve to safeguard the environment.
He identified others as the Annual Tree Planting Day through which over seven million trees of various species have been planted across the State to enrich its biodiversity.
The Commissioner said that Lagos State will explore the linkage between tourism and biological diversity by preserving in their pristine state, two major wetlands which are Yaafin Wetland, Badagry and Itoikin Wetland, Epe, hinting that the wetlands are expected to serve as tourist centres in the nearest future.
He, therefore, encouraged everyone as stakeholders in the environment to appreciate the importance and the beauty of nature while heeding the call to protect the earth and find exciting ways of experiencing, cherishing and sustaining this vital relationship with nature.