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Don laments underfunding of environment sector

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A professor of Environmental Health Sciences at the University of Ibadan, Godson Ana has decried underfunding of environmental issues. He urged the government to provide resources for the sector.

Ana who is the first professor of Environmental Health Sciences expressed worries over negative attitude of Nigerians towards the environment, adding that it’s sickening and poor.

He stated this during the 499th inaugural lecture of the university titled, “nature’s blanket and God’s heritage in distress: who’s the Deliverer?’’. According to him, government has not given the environment the required attention.

“Environmental issues are treated with levity. We talk about waste management, provision of water supply and others. Several years ago we used to have pipe borne water. But now every household has to think of digging a well or sinking a borehole to provide potable water. There are a lot of things that are not being done properly. For me, government needs to be alive to its responsibility and fund the sector very well.”

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He further said absence of enforcement by relevant environmental regulatory organisations such as National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) and Environmental Health Officers’ Registration Council of Nigeria (EHORECON), jeopardises gains of air quality management that is in place in most facilities.

“There is a need for government to employ more staff, equip them with requisite facilities, provide adequate incentives and create appropriate feedback mechanisms that will ensure effective sanctions against those found to infringe on state environmental laws and guidelines.”

He said, “The United Nations has realised the need to reverse the ominous anomalies in the earth environment space. If the ecosystem must be restored, the entire spectrum of the environmental health must be taken seriously, especially information, education, technology, policy, legal issues and enforcement.”

The university teacher called for attitudinal change among Nigerians to save the environment.

“We need a paradigm shift in our attitude towards the environment, our value system must change and our children must be vanguards of the new movement.

60 per cent of Nigerians have poor attitude towards the environment. That is one of the reasons we are facing this rot and decadence,’’ he said.

Ana stressed that there was need for reorientation programme and attitudinal change starting from schools and home while parents must ensure that they inculcate environmental education and activities from home.

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