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US Consulate, others celebrate World Environment Day with school children

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PHOTO: TheCable

•Lagos seeks action against environmental degradation, pollution
The Acting United States (U.S.) Consul General, Brandon Hudspeth, at the weekend, participated in a tree-planting event with students of St. Savior’s School, Ebute Metta, Lagos, in commemoration of the World Environment Day.

Hudspeth, with the General Manager of the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), Dr. Dolapo Fasawe and Assistant Director at the Lagos State Ministry of Environment, Folasade Adeyoju, joined the students to plant trees on the premises of the school.

The event was organised by members of the Young Africa Leaders Initiative (YALI) under the auspices of the Mandela Washington Fellowship Alumni Association, with the support of a public diplomacy grant of the U.S. Consulate-General.

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Hudspeth noted that the tree planting activity underscores the U.S. government’s commitment to supporting initiatives that raise awareness about the importance of protecting the environment.

He expressed optimism that the involvement of the students in the tree planting activity would shape their perspective about environmental conservation and restoration of our ecosystem. He also acknowledged the positive impact of work performed by the YALI alumni to build linkages between different communities and government institutions in Nigeria to promote environmental conservation efforts.

In her remarks, LASEPA General Manager, Dr. Dolapo Fasawe, lauded the school children and their teachers for their commitment towards protecting the environment.

According to her, tree planting plays an essential role in mitigating the impact of climate change .

“Planting trees is one of the most important things we can do to contribute to the health of the planet,” Dr Fasawe noted.
Head Teacher, St. Savior’s School, Ebute Metta, Mrs. Lawrencia Izedonmwen, expressed the commitment of the school to promote environmental education and responsibility by creating awareness and empowering schoolchildren in its host community.

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MEANWHILE, Lagos State Government has called on citizens to join the state in the fight against environmental degradation and pollution.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu made the call at an event to mark the World Environment Day with the theme: ‘Ecosystem Restoration,’ at the setback of the Abraham Adesanya Estate on the Lekki-Epe Expressway.

He said it would be difficult for Lagos to close her borders to economic migrants, hence the need for all hands to be on deck to ensure sustainable use of natural resources.

According to him, the ecosystem could be restored by growing more diverse crops and trees.

He said the state had initiated a four-year greenery plan for Lekki-Epe axis to restore the abandoned setbacks on the corridor.
The governor, who was represented by the Commissioner, Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tunji Bello, said the plan started with the establishment of an urban forest park by the Lagos State Parks and Gardens Agency (LASPARK) on the Lekki-Epe Expressway.

The step, he said, could rebuild carbon stores in soil and make them more fertile so that the growing population could be fed.

According to him, humans could help rebound shrub lands and grasslands by clearing woody vegetation and reseeding native grasses, lost plants and animals could be reintroduced and protected.

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He reiterated the need for residents to ensure a safe, resilient and sustainable Lagos by responding to the call for action that would last a decade in restoring the ecosystem and joining the rest of the world to combat the unsustainable consumption of natural resources.

While declaring the park open for public use, the commissioner emphasised the need for massive acceleration of global ecosystem restoration efforts to fight the climate crisis, enhance food security, provide clean water and protect the earth’s biodiversity.

Speaking on the park, the General Manager of LASPARK, Mrs. Adetoun Popoola, stated the space, measuring approximately 17,256 square meters, was previously characterised by heavy unauthorised trading and artisanal activities, vagrants, unlawful waste disposal and clogging of the drainage that captured rain water run-off from the expressway.

She noted that the space also served as a hideout for nefarious activities and was a security risk to motorists, pedestrians and the immediate community, noting that the State Ministry of Environment and Water Resources dislodged the illegal occupants from the space thereafter handing over to LASPARK for development, which birthed the ‘urban forest.’

Popoola said portions of the setback were allocated to organisations who indicated interest to partner with LASPARK by adopting and developing the spaces at ‘no cost to the state government.’

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