World Environment Day: Why Nigeria must end open grazing, unregulated mining now -Conservation Biologist

Thu, Jun 6, 2024
By editor


….As FG plants 50 million trees nationwide

THE Nigerian Government has been urged to tighten policies against unregulated mining of mineral resources, open grazing, unsustainable agricultural practices, and deforestation, as they undermine the nation’s efforts at actualizing the global mandate to restore degraded ecosystems and halt desertification.

A renowned Conservation Biologist, Associate Professor Excellence Akeredolu made the call at an event put together by the Federal Ministry of Environment, Lagos Zonal office to commemorate the 2024 World Environment Day.

In a lecture on the theme of the celebration which is “Land Restoration, Desertification and Drought Resilience”, Akeredolu noted that following unregulated human activities including unsustainable agricultural practices, open grazing, and mining, the environment has been hugely degraded with attendant consequences of lacking the ability to support lives and livelihoods.

“About 50 percent of land across the globe is at risk of degradation. Causes of land degradation include unsustainable agricultural practices like monoculture, overgrazing, and pesticide use”, said Akeredolu who underlined agriculture as a major driver of deforestation by as much as 80 percent.

He pointed out that development like road construction and building houses were fueling deforestation with attendant consequences including aggravating soil erosion and reducing food production.

Speaking specifically on the theme of the celebration and its relevance, Akeredolu emphasized that Land restoration, desertification, and drought resilience go together. If you are going to restore a particular ecosystem that has undergone degradation as a result of desertification, you need to plan your restoration program. Restoration is very necessary. There are things that we do every day that lead to the reduction of the number of trees that we have. About 20 percent of the planet Earth has become degraded as a result of human activities.

“Two billion hectares of worldwide land have been degraded impacting the lives of over 3 billion people.

“Climate change-induced drugs have significant impacts on the environment. This includes causing water scarcity, biodiversity loss, reduced plant growth, and displacement of the population”, he said.

The Conservation Biologist maintained that in line with the United Nations Decade of ecosystem restoration, Nigeria should adopt sustainable agricultural practices, conserve forests, stop unregulated mining, save the soil, protect pollinators, and massively plant trees amongst others.

The expert who stressed the need to prioritize land restoration and combat desertification said everyone must get involved to sustainably protect and conserve the nation’s environment.

“We need to do quite several things and it is a collective effort. We need to involve all stakeholders. Education is important. We need to bring the next generation of professionals.

“We also need to use technology, it is very important. Mining has a very negative impact because a large expanse of land is usually destroyed in an attempt to carry out mining”, Akeredolu added.

In an address, the Federal Controller, Ministry of Environment and Zonal Director, South-west, Mrs. Margaret Olusola Akinyemi called on every Nigerian to plant at least a tree in support of the government’s fifty million trees target towards achieving the goal of this year’s World Environment Day celebration.

She had disclosed that the Federal Government through the Ministry of Environment had committed itself to planting 50 million trees within the next 5 years.

According to her, “Tree is life. Apart from its ornamental attribute, it is capable of providing fresh air, absorbing carbon dioxide and the greenhouse gases causing climate change. At the same time, trees provide a habitat for animals and food for human consumption.

” Tree planting is everyone’s responsibility. If our ministry has said it wants to plant 50 million trees, it is to encourage every other other people. The 50 million trees that we want to plant are in a space of 5 years and it is a gradual thing.

“Tree planting does not require any skill. If a toddler eats a mango and throws it on fertile land, it does not need to be watered, you just see that the mango sprouts by itself. So, it is everybody’s work including toddlers and why I will include babies in the womb is that they are hearing. Let them start to hear right from the womb that there is a work to do when they get to this earth and that is tree planting”, she added.

Mrs Akinyemi said that this year’s event which is the 52nd edition emphasizes the land as the determinant of the future, and must be protected at all costs.

According to the Federal Controller, land across the globe is under threat of diverse disasters including desertification, land degradation, pollution, and drought, and all hands must be on deck in tackling them.

Mrs. Akinyemi identified tree planting as the most sustainable strategy for tackling most environmental issues.

The event was attended by pupils and students from some schools in Lagos, who made presentations to further convey the message of the event.

An important aspect of the event was the distribution of tree seedlings to all the participants in a bid to inculcate in them the culture of tree planting.


June 6, 2024