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Environmental degradation: Save Ikoyi and the air we all breathe

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Early morning walks and jogs will no longer be the same for residents of Ikoyi, one of the affluent neighborhoods in Lagos State as they witnessed an unusual felling of trees acting on the orders of Lagos State Parks and Gardens Agency (LASPARK) in conjunction with the state government on Monday, 7th of September, 2020, including 100-year-old trees that define the neighbourhood.

A resident stopped to enjoy the shade and covering of the old trees, which had become one of her favourite spots and she was alarmed to find out that several century-old trees had been cut overnight and at least more than over 100 more trees were marked for felling.

You must be wondering how does this concern me? How does this affect my pocket? Does it increase the money I have in my account? Is this the only issue we have to solve in this country? What about the fact that we do not have electricity? Why don’t you write about that issue and solve that problem?

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Yes! I totally agree that there are 1001 other issues to be solved in Lagos. So, why would the Lagos State Government and LASPARK choose cutting down of trees as the most important one to attend to now? Why would a government purposefully create problems for its people?

For starters, the quality of air we breathe in Lagos is very toxic. With how epileptic the power supply is in most areas in Lagos, generating sets have become the most viable source for electricity. These generators, which are found in most households and organizations, emit carbon monoxide, which poses a great threat to human health.

Exposure to carbon monoxide is dangerous as it interacts with hemoglobin, displaces oxygen and forms carboxyhemoglobin (COHb) resulting in a lack of oxygen to the body cells and ultimately causing some heart-related diseases.

Research has shown that one large tree can provide a day’s supply of oxygen for up to four persons. So, why is the government trying to pull down trees and reduce the quality of air we breathe in. Trees are a renewable source and an important part of our ecosystem. Cutting them down reduces the flow of oxygen in the atmosphere.

Are you aware that the presence of trees in a particular environment helps to reduce flooding? The roots absorb the water and help to reduce the speed of the flowing water. With incessant flooding in Lekki, one would assume that more trees will be planted to help combat these flooding issues.

One of the things that differentiate “Old Ikoyi” from other areas is the fact that it is widely known to have a lot of greenery and is surrounded by lots of trees. Prospective residents look forward to the aesthetic and environmental value of these trees. Cutting down the trees is practically reducing property value of the neighborhood.

This action defies all forms of logic and has prompted the need to write this piece to call on environmental enthusiasts, residents of Ikoyi, citizens of Lagos, management of LASPARK and most importantly, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the governor of Lagos, to please look into this matter as it is one of utmost importance.

• Elston writes from Ikoyi, Lagos

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IkoyiLagos StateLASPARK
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