With the theme “Celebrate Bioverdiversity”, the world marks the annual celebration of World Environment Day (WED) 2020 being hosted in Columbia – one of the world’s megadiverse nations and Germany in partnership. This global ritual was assigned by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972 and later held in 1974, for Te first time.
Today WED has over 140 nations in attendance annually and globally. It has become one of the flagship programmes and global initiatives of the UN through which regional, subregional organizations, state governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as well as volunteers scale up, coordinate and expedite actions on the environment.
As a global concern, action plans are usually streamlined even at community level to maximize the goal of environmental sustenance. The agenda of the Sustainable Development is largely dependent on laudable environmental management. What are we leaving behind for the future? This question makes us understand that the initiative of making development sustainable is a factor of what the present age can do for the future as no development can exist let alone be sustained outside the human environment which is man’s first wealth.
Foundation for Environmental Rights, Advocacy and Development, FENRAD, joins in raising this global consciousness and call for a fuller world in flora and fauna. As the world today battles extinction of over 1 million species of terrestrial, freshwater and marinewater species the call becomes more unassailable. But today’s event has come with an equally ideal theme – Celebrate Biodiversity, it is opportune, therefore, to say: “It is time for nature”.
With the global pandemic of Coronavirus still on and many nations still on lockdown or even stay-at-home, harmful emissions of toxic industrial activities, deforestation and other unfriendly human activities against the environment seem to be mitigating; the earth is, no doubts, making some progress on the path of regain. Therefore the need is to ensure that knowledge is enhanced among global, state and local actors. FENRAD is not left alone.
At the federal level, FENRAD urges Nigerian government to work more on environmental sector in mitigating many environmental problems from air pollution – mostly bush burning and gas flaring, climate change, pipeline vandalism and oil spillage, desertification and desert encroachment, flood problem, deforestation, water pollution and sundry environmental disasters plaguing the nation. To also radically raise environmental consciousness among the various thirty-six (36) states and 774 local government areas and area development councils as environment is a common good and thus must not be depleted.
FENRAD calls on Abia State Ministry of Environment and state’s Environmental Protection Agency, ASEPA, to work on expediting action on how best to manage the environment especially in this period of Covid-19 as findings have shown that the time in which we live now requires personal and environmental hygiene.
FENRAD, among other things, urges ASEPA to:
1) Work on addressing environmental abuses and publicising all extant environmental laws on its website (if it has any) or through the media.
2) Work towards improving the sanitatary condition of the state especially as mannkind battles the global contagion that is COVID-19. To this end, there is need for public awareness and sanitation which FENRAD believes should diffuse to every facet of the state most importantly the markets. FENRAD wishes to see continued sporadic disinfection and fumigation of these markets to reduce further spread of the virus; also enhanced regular neighbourhood cleanup exercise.
3) Work towards having a piece of legislation that will handle climate change through mitigation and adaptation statewide. Same legislation should emphasize biodiversity which in itself affords food production and natural abundance.
4) Accelerate actions on proper refuse disposal management. For example, many gutters, canals and capillaries of the state (mostly in Aba) are clogged with rubbish and detritus from households and sometimes factories or marketplaces; flooding is the resultant end. The need to recover Abia is germane and this unhygienic activity must be immediately tackled head-on. Illegal refuse dumping must be checked so as to save the state from having too many illegal dumping sites.
5) Initiate a sustained environmental education for Abians and residents living whthin the state, both in her urban and rural areas. Poor sewage evacuation system has led to illegal dumping of solid waste or excreta at residential areas even on the streets to the detriment of inhabitants. Also are septic tanks emptied within neighbourhoods, unhygienically. These and many more are environmental activities that can be tackled through mass-based education of the state’s citizens and residents.
Once again, FENRAD wishes Nigerians and Abians a happy World Environment Day and uses this medium to once again pray for God’s repose to the soul of Abia State Commissioner for Environment, Dr. Solomon Ogunji. May Abia know and achieve biodiversity.
Happy Eco Day To Nigerians and Ndi Abia!
Comrade Nelson Nnanna Nwafor
Foundation for Environmental Rights,Advocacy & Development (FENRAD)