Original post by Kazeem Ugbodaga for PM News
The Lagos State Government on Friday lamented the alarming rate at which wetlands and biodiversity are lost in the state as a result of the indiscriminate destruction of natural habitats, reclamation for housing estate development and population expansion.
Commissioner for the Environment, Dr. Samuel Adejare made the lamentation at a news conference to mark the commencement of the 2017 Conservation Eco-tourism for 10 selected students in Lagos, held at the Ministry’s conference room in Ikeja, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria.
Adejare listed the examples of lost wetlands as the National Theater and Iju wetlands.
The commissioner said the maiden edition of the Conservation Eco-tourism programme was hosted last year between Sunday, 7 and 14 August, with the primary intention of changing the perception of the general public about conventional tourism, especially as it related to the environment.
“This tour has clearly shown the commitment of the Lagos State Government to environmental sustainability by bringing together sustainable travel practices that promote the conservation of protected natural areas.
“You will agree with me that there is an alarming rate of wetlands and biodiversity loss in Lagos State as exemplified by the National Theater and Iju wetlands, which is as a result of the indiscriminate destruction of natural habitats, reclamation for housing estate development and population expansion.
“It is noteworthy to mention that following the recommendations from the maiden edition of this programme, the Lagos State Government commenced the protection of wetlands in the state and recorded successes in encouraging the host communities of the Iyafin wetland in Badagry and the Itoikin –Orugbo wetland in Epe to take ownership,” he explained.
Adejare stated that the state government, being mindful of the capacity of the young ones to communicate and bring about change, had adopted the strategy to educate every young pupil to embrace sustainable use of environmental resources and discourage unhealthy abuse of the wetlands in the State.
“Consequently, the Youth Wetlands Education and Eco-tourism programme is designed to provide science-based, hands-on activities for students to gain proper understanding of the functions and values of wetlands and explore strategies for sustaining these unique ecosystems.
“The participating students, who were selected through a rigorous process, will have the opportunity to visit some pristine and fragile ecosystems, zoological gardens and conservation centers across the five divisions of Lagos State to acquaint them with the abundant wetlands resources and biodiversity of the State,” he explained further.
He enjoined all to commit to a lifestyle that encouraged environmentally friendly options and embrace the attitude of visiting eco-tourism sites for relaxation and knowledge of the environment, stressing that “the future generation will not forgive us if we refuse to protect the environment.”