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Lagos, NCF seek wetlands conservation, end to exploitation

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Nigerian Conservation Foundation


Amid massive shrinking of the nations’ wetlands, the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) has called on authorities to focus more on the implementation of existing laws that disallow undue exploitation of the areas in the country.

The foundation observed that like the global experience, half of the country’s’ wetlands have been destroyed thus aggravating issues of flooding, loss and migration of plants and animals to other regions.

It therefore advocated a long time commitment towards sustainable use of the wetlands and improves peer-to-peer education among the youth to revert the resources in abundance.A senior manager with the foundation, Bosede Kosemani made the call at the 2018 World Wetland celebration themed; “Wetland for Sustainable Urban Future” held at the University of Lagos International School.

World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on second of February. This day marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands in 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea and since 1997; the Ramsar Secretariat has provided outreach materials to help raise public awareness about the importance and value of wetlands globally.

According to Kosemani, one of the things that the government has done, is the policy put in place on the use of Wetlands resources, however, she said there was the need to consider how development could go side by side with the preservation of wetlands.

“Government must consider that if you want to use the wetlands, you must necessarily sand fill? There are laws but the challenge is that who is Implementing and regulating. There should be more focus on the implementation of existing laws and regulatory aspect of the wetlands should be strengthened. The spate of outright conversion of the wetlands in most communities in Nigeria is regrettable.”

She stressed that the foundation is working hard through advocacy to preserve some of the wetlands in the country so that people would be aware of its important roles and how to continually protect them.“In the NCF’s wetlands at the Lekki Conservation Park, we demonstrate how we can protect the wetlands to make them add values to the people. Most of projects are demonstration in natures especially how such projects help them in improving their living”, she stated.

In his presentations, a lecturer in the department of Zoology, University of Lagos, Dr. Akeredolu Excellence described Wetland as an area that provides supportive, regulatory, and cultural as well as ecological roles for human survival. He noted that in Asia, Wetland provides resources such as mat, help in floods control, and provides aquatic foods like fishes and crabs.

“One way by which government could help is by providing educative resources, finance for research, sponsor people who want to help in the development of Wetlands. There are Wetland scientists, Non-governmental organizations that have interest in the area and so the government should collaborate with them. He urged the participants who were mainly secondary school pupils to educate their communities on the need for sustainable utilization of the waterways, coastal beats and all adjacent shore lines, prevention of human activities such as dredging, keeping the environment free from hazardous substances and by sustainable utilization of animal resources like birds, and fishes.

Meanwhile, the Lagos state government has called for the conservation of wetlands resources in the state.Commissioner for the Environment, Babatunde Durosinmi-Etti, who spoke at the 2018 World Wetlands Day celebration, said wetlands are critical parts of natural environment help.He said that the state as a littoral State has associated with the rest of the world in marking the 2018 World WetlHe said with the theme: “Wetlands for Sustainable Urban Future.”

Durosinmi-Etti, stressed that the state seized the opportunity of World Wetlands day to sensitise Lagosians on the importance of wetlands and urged for more community participation in wetlands management in the State.He maintained that Wetlands were vital for human survival as they were one of the world’s most productive environments, serving as cradles of biological diversity that provide water and engender the sustenance and survival of countless species of plants and animals.

 
He stressed that wetlands are blessings to the communities where they existed because they serve as sources of water, food, medicine, handcrafts and shelter, adding that they provide abode for cultural, recreational and tourist activities.

He said that in spite of the vital roles of wetlands, these crucial resources are faced with many threats from human activities, as they are the most threatened ecosystems globally.
 
To stem this development, the Environment Commissioner stated that the State Government would step up its monitoring and advocacy programme and ensure stakeholders collaboration for the protection of our wetlands resources.He urged Lagosians to desist from dumping refuse or using wastes to reclaim wetlands, adding that wetlands must be preserved as buffers zones, which protect the built environment from flooding.

 



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