….As 2019 Walk for Nature holds, records impressive attendance
The Lagos State Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr Tunji Bello has called for a lifestyle change in favour of nature conservation for the attainment of a sustainable environment in Lagos State.
He stated this during the 2019 Annual Walk for Nature, held at the State House, Marina, Lagos on Saturday to advocate the ideals of nature conservation and promoting sustainable environmental management.
In a speech read on his behalf by the Permanent Secretary, Office of Environment, Mrs Ronke Odeneye, he said that the mounting pressure on nature’s resources, dwindling wildlife, rising world population, due to pollution, particularly plastic arising from anthropogenic activities, has made a shift in attitude towards the environment a necessity.
“Plastic pollution is the accumulation of plastic objects and particles in the environment that adversely affect wildlife habitat and humans”
“For instance, the rich ecosystem in Lagos State, which is home to a variety of aquatic and terrestrial plants and animals, are under serious threat due to plastic pollution” he added.
Bello explained that plastic has many valuable uses, but the people have become addicted to single use. Materials such as straws, styrofoam for fast food or disposable plastic after use result to severe environmental consequences that the State is facing now.
He reveals that Plastic Waste is now so ubiquitous in the natural environment that scientists have even suggested that it could serve as a geological indicator of the Anthropocene era.
He stated that it was imperative to combat the impacts of plastic pollution on our ecosystem, its biodiversity and human health by shifting to a more conscious approach to multiple-use and plastic recycling.
“According to research plastic that acts as pollutants have accounted for 10% of the total waste generated. It constitutes 90% of all trash floating on the ocean surface at a rate of about 4,600 pieces of plastic per square mile”.
Bello said it is nearly impossible to clean the seas from plastic waste and micro-plastics, emphasizing the needs to be tackle this pollution at the source because it is not sustainable to cleanup plastic pollution once it has entered the sea.
He said that along with the urban sprawl, there is need to slow the flow of plastic at its source and to improve the way we manage our plastic waste in motion because a lot of it ends up in the environment.
Plastic waste according to the Governor can persist in the environment for centuries, whether in a river, ocean, drainage or on land, adding that it also clogsthe sewers exacerbating flooding, disrupting traffic, damaging infrastructure and properties.
He urged everyone to be aware of the fact that there is an urgent need to improve the environment and start taking responsibility for their behavior and change theirattitude to achieve sustainable development.
He reiterated that the State Government is consistent in its responsibility to curb plastic pollution by improving waste management system, saying that the new Blue Box programme launched by the State is aimed at modernizing waste management systems, in a bid to achieve a Lagos devoid of filth and plastic pollution.
He disclosed that the consolidated environmental law is geared towards preservation of the Lagos environment in a holistic and sustainable manner to attain a cleaner, greener, healthier and more livable State.
Commending all parties involved in the success of 2019 edition of Walk for Nature, the Commissioner said it is through such collaborations that a decisive blow can be launched against plastic pollution.
“Our collective responsibility to environmental issues is very key.The private sector, both formal and informal must help shape this desirous cleaner future” he added.
The Walk for Nature programme is organized annually in conjunction with the Nigerian Conservation Foundation and this edition featured a walk from the state house marina through Leventis, outer marina and back to the State house Marina.
This year’s event was attended by top government officials, captains of industries as well as students from various schools across the state.
Earlier in a goodwill message, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Drainage and Water Resources, Engineer Joe Igbokwe commended the collaboration between the State Government and Nigerian Conservation for the safety and protection of the environment.
He said plastics remember a potent danger to humanity and all efforts must be made to address the problem before it gets out of hand.
The walk featured participation by several groups and organizations, volunteers and school children.