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Gov Sanwo-Olu encourages tree-planting as tool to tackle climate change, global warming


Photo Credit: Lagos State 

Lagos State governor, Mr.
Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Sunday flagged off a Green Campaign to plant 350,000
trees across the state.

The flag-off of the initiative
was in response to changing the ecosystem and climate conditions, and declaring
green environment as a cardinal agenda of this administration, with a view to
achieving cleaner and greener ecosystem.

The campaign with the theme: “Clean
and Green is our Perfect Dream,” kicked off at an event held in Lekki Phase 1
to commemorate the state’s Tree Planting Day.
The programme is an annual
event initiated 10 years ago by the administration of Babatunde Raji Fashola,
with the objectives to galvanise policies and actions towards mitigating the
effects of climate change.
The commemorative tree-planting
activity was held simultaneously in seven other locations across the state,
including Costain area of Ebute Metta where the Deputy Governor, Dr Obafemi
Hamzat, anchored the exercise.
It was graced by dignitaries
and traditional rulers, including the representatives of Oba of Lagos, Rilwan
Akiolu, and Onitedo of Itedo Land, Oba Tajudeen Elemoro, among others.
The governor, represented by
his wife, Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, while maintaining that green environment was a
cardinal agenda of his administration, said tree planting remained an effective
strategy to combat the effect of climate change and global warming.
According to him, sustenance of
the initiative is a testimony to the foresight of the previous administrations
to ensure Lagosians live in a healthy environment.
“We cannot keep on ignoring the
effects of climate change, which is the most significant material risk to our
future; it is also the world’s most devastating threat to human survival. As we
increase effort to rid the state of waste, all hands must be on deck to also
improve the aesthetics of the environment by adorning it with ornaments,
plants, beautiful flowers, shrubs and trees,” the governor said.
Sanwo-Olu, who noted that there
would never be a short- or long-term benefit of cutting down trees under the
guise of development, pointed out that the notion of planting five trees in
replacement for a tree pulled down was inadequate to address the problem of
environmental degradation.
“The truth is, when tree
replacement may perfectly rekindle our hope, it does not equally compensate for
the damage done to the soil’s biodiversity and the degradation done to the
“When the primary tropical
forest is lost, they can never be recovered. As a government, developing new
opportunities around green spaces to promote the green economy is cardinal to
our development agenda,” he said.
The governor lauded the Lagos
State Parks and Gardens Agency (LASPARK) for the mileage it had achieved in
helping the government to realise the green objectives.
This was just as he disclosed
that seven million trees had been planted out of the 10 million targets by
2020, declaring that achieving a green credential would help the government to
improve healthcare and sustain the environment.
Besides, Sanwo-Olu said in
furtherance of his commitment to a green and sustainable environment, the
government would re-launch ‘One House, One Tree’ campaign across the state,
saying the move would ensure every house in the state plants one tree to
intensify the green project.
Permanent Secretary, Ministry
of the Environment, Mr. Biodun Bamgboye, described trees as “essential” to the
ecosystem in which they were planted, noting that the yearly event was aimed at
building an enduring environmental legacy in the state.
According to Bamgboye, the
state government had, since the tree planting campaign started, pursued
“aggressive Green Initiatives and Policies” in its communities, with the aim of
stabilising climate conditions and transforming Lagos into a cleaner state.
“We can never overemphasise the
importance of trees in our lives. Trees are essential to the ecosystem in which
they reside. They have a natural ability to control climate and mitigate the
effects of sun, rain and wind. Trees also absorb and store rainwater which
prevents the transport of chemicals into drinking water.
“It is instructive to note that
putting up ultramodern factories, large shopping malls, beautiful mansions, car
parks and mega petrol station without any reservation for green will not
compensate what has been taken away from nature. When we make it green, we have
made the environment safer and healthier for our people,” he said.
The Permanent Secretary urged
residents to reserve significant space in their homes for tree planting in line
with the Physical Planning and Urban Development Law of the state.
He noted the best achievement
recorded by the state in its drive for a greener environment was the acceptance
of the initiative by a majority of residents to promote a sustainable
Joining hand with government to
achieve the objectives of the green initiative, various private-sector
corporations, religious bodies and non-governmental organisations have
volunteered to plant tree across the state.
Gokada, a tech-driven
commercial motorcycle service, said it had mapped out a strategy to deploy its
members to plant 100,000 trees across the state. This gesture was applauded by
the Governor, who urged other private companies and non-state actors to emulate
in promoting a sustainable environment.
Chairman of Eti-Osa Local
Government Area, Hon. Saheed Bankole urged residents to take actions that would
keep their environment-friendly. He said the people had a responsibility to
work with the state government and the council in implementing policies that
would prevent environmental abuse.
Chairman Eti-Osa East Local
Council Development Area (LCDA), Hon. Rafiu Olatunji, described the tree as
“life-saving”, saying: “Anyone who plants a tree has planted a life; we must
take a cue from today’s event and plant trees in our neighbourhoods. This is
one of the best ways to maintain healthy living and safe environment.”
On her part, chairman of
Iru/Victoria Island LCDA, Princess Rasheedat Adu, said tree planting had become
a ritual in her local council.
She said: “We are passionate
about keeping the environment in its natural form. We believe that whatever we
take away from the environment should be returned to keep it natural. Victoria
Island is below the sea level and because of this, all hands are always on deck
to ensure that we clear our drainage and keep the environment safe. We
regularly roll out programmes that sensitise residents on how properly to
dispose of refuse and maintain a healthy environment.”

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