Stakeholders Task Anambarians on Sustainable, Clean and Green Environment

…World Earth day

By Ogochukwu Nwaokafor

Stakeholders, experts and the Anambra State Government have called on Ndi Anambra to imbibe the culture of a clean, green and sustainable environment.

Fides reports that the 2023 World Earth Day was commemorated as the International Mother Earth Day which is the day set aside by the United Nations for its celebration on every 22nd April.

The event which took place at Prof. Dora Akunyili Women’s Development Centre, Awka, last weekend, had the theme, “Clean, Green and Sustainable Anambra State”, while the global theme was ‘Invest on our Earth”.

The Governor of Anambra State, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, according to Flix Odimegwu, State Commissioner for Environment, had realized the need to protect and maintain the state’s environment; hence the decision to organize the town-hall meeting which drew experts from environment-related fields, as well as government functionaries, traditional rulers, non-state actors and Managing Director, Lagos State Waste Management Agency, LAWMA, Adeleye Odebunmi. He shared the Lagos experience on sustainable waste Management, which the Anambra State Government still finds problematic.

The CEO,              Pakam Technologies, and provider of Lagos State Waste Management and Environment, Mr. Adeleye Mayowa Odebunmi, spoke on safe and sustainable waste management in communities, noting that what was worth doing that was not sustainable was not worth doing at all.

Mr. Odebunmi stressed the need for the Anambra State Government to invest heavily in waste management, work in close relationship with community leaders and ensure strict and impartial enforcement of relevant laws.

He also added that Anambra needed to create a value genuine system to create a sustainable, clean and green environment and also spoke about regulations and enforcement that must be smart and digital.

The Dean, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Professor Leo Muoghalu, who spoke on ”Erosion/Flood Menace in Anambra, Causes, Prevention, and Remedies”, listed the causes of flood as deforestation, lack of effective legal instrument, urbanization, blocking of drainage, poor infrastructure construction management, heavy rains, among others.

He maintained that ‘We must change our attitude and behaviour to the earth; that when we are unkind to earth, the earth would not forgive or forget.’

He regretted that the state lacked a Disaster Management Circle, (DMC) which he  explained as preparation, mitigation, prevention, development, reconstruction, rehabilitation and response, noting that it had been the reason it did not manage flooding and erosion effectively.

He tasked the government to empower the Emergency Management Agency to live up to people’s expectations.

On deforestation and its consequences on the ecosystem, the need for tree planting, conservation and face lifting, the Professor of Soil and Water Conservation, and Special  Adviser to the Vice Chancellor, Unizik on Land and Natural Resources Management, Professor Peter Nnabude, stated the fact that there must be effective partnership, without which nothing could be achieved.

He also called for the recovering of all designated forest zones and urged the government to collaborate with the forestry researchers for easy recovery.

Nnabude stated that after the day’s brainstorming on forest reserve, it would no longer be business as usual for land grabbers, warden contractors or any means of environmental sustainability in the state.

Agronomist and vastly experienced rural development professional and member of IFAD, CPAT, Mr Chinonso Agbo, spoke on taking ownership, and community participation approach.

Mr Agbo reiterated the need for an effective transport system delivery of waste disposal, being mindful of the cooking system, even as he stressed the need to reduce and reuse plastics and polythene bags which, he said, littered  every nook and cranny of the state. He emphasised the need to recycle them for other usages.

Governor Soludo, represented by Dr Onyekachukwu Ibezim, his deputy, in his remarks, noted that it was because of his concern that he made environment reclamation through dissemination of waste evacuation, drainage desilting and urban renewal.

Dr Ibezim stated that it was unfortunate that Anambra which was the second least state behind Lagos was losing land to erosion while Lagos was expanding into the ocean by reclamation.

He maintained that ‘The government will possibly do its best in environment matters but the community leaders should endeavour to do their part in saving the environment.’

Dr. Ibezim further stated that the government would provide a policy framework that would ensure that proper strategies were put in place to achieve a safe, green, clean and livable environment where erosion would become a thing of past.