Lagos, coastal cities threatened by forecast rise in sea level
The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) says that Lagos and other coastal cities globally that are less than one meter above sea level could be submerged by 2050 if the seal level continues its rise.
“The projection by scientists in the United Nations (UN) who are the authority in climate change effects, after extensive studies say there is the likelihood of the world’s ocean rising by 1 meter by between 2030 and 2050.
“Hence, any city less than one meter above sea level is under threat and Lagos is part of the many others,’’ Dr Muhtari Aminu-Kanu, Director-General of NCF, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Lagos.
Aminu-Kano told NAN that part of the reasons for the ocean encroachments and beach erosions was as a result of the activities around the coastlines.
The director-general said it was not peculiar to Lagos alone but other coastal cities globally would have the same effects of the changes in climate.
“It is a danger caused by climate change and we have got to take it seriously and apply steady and serious measures beyond infrastructure projects to deal with it.
“Sea level rise is another looming danger that could come to threaten the existence of Lagos if we do not treat it with seriousness.
“This is not a problem for Lagos alone to carry, it is a national problem that should involve the Federal Government,’’ he said.
NAN reports that President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 at a Summit on Climate Change, held at the UN Headquarters in New York, said that Nigeria was strongly committed to the adoption of a legally binding universal agreement to mitigate climate change.
Buhari said the socio-economic consequences of climate change spared no nation as Nigeria was affected by extreme weather variations, rising sea levels, encroaching desertification, excessive rainfall, erosion and floods and land degradation.
The president also said Nigeria had developed a national policy to guide the country’s response to Climate Change which was largely based on two strategies of Mitigation and Adaptation.
Dr Muhtari Aminu-Kano also urged the Lagos State Government to adopt strategies on renewable energy to tackle pollution.
“There is an ongoing project by the World Bank to check the level of pollution in Lagos State, whereas, seven locations have been picked to set up monitoring stations,’’ he told NAN.
The director-general said that the energy crisis in the country was huge and the use of energy generating sets was appalling which had earned the country the appellation, “generator capital of the world’’.
He said pollution from automobile, firewood and generator emissions had become worrisome since Lagos State was ranked among the seven most polluted cities in the world.
He noted that all of the emissions contributed a lot to health challenges to the increasing population of the state estimated at over 20 million people.
“The World Bank and Lagos State Government have located seven monitoring sites in the state and we have one in the Lekki Conservation Center.
“It is also refreshing to note that when the initial study was done, the conservation was marked as the area that is less polluted and that is as a result of the density of trees in the area.
“The place has also been equipped to be the control center of the pollution monitoring. It’s a state of the art for monitoring station.
“The stations will show the extent of the pollution which will guide decision making on what to do about it,’’ he said.
Aminu-Kano also said the foundation was working with the Federal Government through the department of climate change and other relevant parts to promote the use of renewable energy such as solar, hydro and wind.
He said another common issue was use of trees as firewood for cooking which was environmentally hazardous.
He strongly condemned the felling of trees for the purpose of cooking fuels and advised for an alternative quickly because of the rate trees were being cut down.
He highlighted five areas to look at the issues of energy sources critically, adding that the people have to rely on political will as firewood use could not be stopped overnight.
“Cultivation of wood lots should be encouraged in each community for the purpose of firewood, where people grow fast growing trees so that they will stop cutting forest trees that are 200 years old.
“We want promotion of more fuel efficient stoves to cut down the amount of firewood on needs to cook as heat escapes while using firewood which means more wood will be needed to cook.
“We also have to look at some renewable energy models in other countries like India where there is developed affordable solar stoves.
“The Federal Government should also look at the cost of kerosene because it is now the most expensive and scarcely available and what happened to the import of improved stoves by the last administration.
“That project was handled by the Federal Ministry of Environment and should be revisited to save our ecosystem and vegetation,’’ the Aminu-Kano told NAN.