The Lagos State Government on Saturday said the State has developed an action plan and projects for restoration, protection and management of identified environmental degradation that may have negative impacts on the environment.
The Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Tunji Bello, made this known at Ikoyi during the commemoration of the year 2022 Walk for Nature, adding that the Walk was organised in conjunction with the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) and held simultaneously in Ikoyi/Obalende, Surulere and Ikeja Local Government Areas.
He explained that the State Government is committed to actualising Goals 11-17 of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) and has formulated policies aimed at the conservation of biodiversity.
The Commissioner, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Office of Environmental Services Dr. Omobolaji Gaji said the present administration would not relax on its plans to promote awareness on the adoption of a Green and Blue Economy as natural capital is used sustainably for a vibrant Lagos.
He noted that the theme for this year “Only One Earth” is chosen to create more awareness of the importance of protecting nature and to remind all that there is only one habitable planet which is the Earth.
Stressing that the reality on ground tells a troubling story that unsustainable human activities and over-exploitation of species and natural resources are putting to peril the World’s Biodiversity, Bello revealed that nearly a quarter of all species are presently at risk of getting extinct in the coming decades.
In his words: “It is important to note that humans have only been around for 200,000 years of the 4.5 Billion years of the existence of planet Earth, yet we have had a significant negative effect on the Earth more than any other species”.
“In a 2018 report of the Worldwide Fund for Nature titled: ‘Our Living Planet Report’ it was revealed that wildlife and species population decreased by 60% globally between 1970 and 2014”, he added.
The Commissioner explained that the State Government through its T.H.E.M.E.S. Agenda had addressed some of the issues, which include the destruction of natural habitats to create farmland, overpopulation, large-scale development project, grazing and fuel-wood collection, mining, over-exploitation, harmful subsidies, forest fires, hunting and illegal trafficking of animals that have led to wildlife losses to ensure environmental sustainability.
He, therefore, advised residents to ensure that all efforts are geared towards nurturing and protecting the environment, saying that this responsibility should be the collective goal of everyone and not just the responsibility of the Government.
He said the 15th collaboration between Government and the NCF on Annual Walk had raised awareness of the protection of Nature while showcasing the implementation of excellent results of the Government in its environmental policies.
The Commissioner urged all organisations, communities and individuals to engage proactively in increasing awareness through the Walk for Nature programme to prevent the destruction of natural habitat caused by illegal dredging, deforestation, degradation of wetlands and indiscriminate dumping of refuse amongst other unfriendly environmental activities.
According to him, there is a need for us, individually and collectively, to think creatively and innovatively on not just the need but how best to conserve the “Only One Earth” so we can advance to a more sustainable and just Earth, where everyone can flourish.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Director, Conservation and Ecology, Mrs. Tolulope Adeyo, stated that the event was aimed at encouraging people to support natural resources management efforts for present and future generations to reverse the impact of environmental degradation, biodiversity and protection of endangered species.
He said residents have a major role to play in protecting the environment not only by preserving what is available now but also ensuring sustenance for generations yet unborn.
Also in his remarks, the Chairman Board of Trustees, Nigerian Conservation Foundation, Chief Philip Asiodu said it was remarkable that the ‘Walk for Nature’ programme had been ongoing for 15 years, adding that its sole aim was to create awareness and promote nature conservation.
He, therefore, enjoined everyone to ensure sustainable environmental management as human existence is dependent on a collective effort.