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Lagos tackles dumping of refuse on wetlands, canals

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[FILES] Heaps of refuse at the foot of the bridge at Toyota Bus Stop

Lagos State Government, yesterday, advised residents to desist from using refuse to reclaim wetlands and dumping waste into drainage channels to ensure a safer, cleaner and flood-freer environment in the state.
  
Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Tunji Bello, gave advice at a campaign on wetland and biodiversity conservation for residents in Lagos West Senatorial District, at the Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo.
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At the event attended by traditional and community leaders as well as secondary school pupils from the district, Bello said the campaign was necessary to change the environmental behaviour of Lagosians, especially during the rainy season.
  
He said the state government was desirous of involving and committing members of various communities as main stakeholders to protect wetlands within their environment.
 
Bello, who spoke through the Special Adviser on Drainage Services, Mr. Joe Igbokwe, said the campaign, tagged ‘We are Part of the Solution for Nature,’ was aimed at educating residents on the need to look after wetlands and take care of nature.
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Expressing sadness over encroachments on wetlands in Iju, Ejigbo, Badagry, Ikorodu, Itoikin, Orugbo and others, the commissioner said the government was in the process of reviewing a draft wetland policy in the state and boosting enforcement or other relevant environmental laws.
  
The Permanent Secretary, Office of the Environmental Services, Mrs. Aderonke Odeneye, said it was important, as communities and as a people, to do more to preserve nature and protect wetlands from further encroachment.
 
She revealed that the ministry had also embarked on identification and categorisation of wetlands in the state on a consultancy basis, as a follow-up to update identification done in 2009.
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Also, the Permanent Secretary, Office of Drainage Services, Olalekan Shodeinde, stated that wetlands are natural habitations provided by God which value could not be replaced by money.
 
He said wetlands retain water during the rainy season to prevent floods, adding that they are part of the land that is green and never go dry throughout the year.
 
In his lecture, the guest lecturer from the Department of Zoology & Environmental Biology, Faculty of Science, LASU, Prof. Abiodun Denloye, insisted that wetlands should be properly preserved for humanity.

He called for actions at both private and government levels to collaborate with research and educational institutions to sustain the reclamation of some wetlands in the state.
  
At the event, students of Iba Housing Estate Secondary School, Iba, presented a drama on the importance of protecting wetlands and the environment. 

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