Nigeria will soon run out of natural resources – Activists
The Children, Youth and Women Empowerment Initiative (CHiYoWo), Community Development Advocacy Foundation (CODAF) and Printrite said that at the rate of environmental pollution and loss of forests, Nigeria may soon run out of natural resources.
The rights group sounded the alarm bells in an interactive session to mark World Earth Day, which is commemorated each year to demonstrate its practical support for protecting the environment.
The groups said in a joint statement that this year’s edition of ‘Restoring Our Earth’ was appropriate, warning that “the rate at which the environment in Nigeria is being polluted and the rapid disappearance of forests indicate that the country will be soon run out of its natural resources needed to support the nation.
READ ALSO: Pastoralists / farmers crises: how desertification and climate change trigger bloody clashes
“There is a stark reality that Nigeria could become one of the poorest countries in the years to come if it does not promote sustainability and effectively manage pollution and deforestation urgently.”
For the Executive Director of CHiYoWo, Ms. Tokunbo Ifaturoti, “from 1990 to 2020, the world lost more than 420 million hectares of its forest due to various land use projects. Between 2015 and 2020, the rate of deforestation was estimated at 10 million hectares per year, against 16 million hectares per year in the 1990s. “
She said forests act as a food safety net during climate shocks, reduce the risk of disasters such as coastal flooding, and help regulate water flows and microclimates.
“Therefore, improving the health of these forest ecosystems and introducing community forest management practices will increase the resilience of human and natural systems and reduce the impacts of climate change.
Also on World Earth Day, Benin Richard of CODAF said that the world’s forests absorb 2.4 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, one third of the annual CO2 emitted by combustion. of fossil fuels.
“The continued destruction of forests will emit more carbon into the atmosphere, with 4.3 to 5.5 GtCO2eq / year generated annually, largely due to deforestation and forest degradation.
“Protecting and restoring this vast carbon sink is essential to mitigate climate change and preserve people’s health and sources of income.
“In recent years, there has been massive interest in the palm oil sector with devastating effects on forests in Nigeria.
“Edo and Cross Rivers states have seen a massive influx of businesses evicting farmers from their land and carrying out massive deforestation activities to establish palm oil businesses.
“The effect of these actions has had a huge negative impact on the source of livelihood for local farmers, their families and local communities with huge impact on the environment as well.”
The CODAF director pointed out that pollution from different sources is the leading environmental cause of illness and premature death in Nigeria and globally, a prime example being the 2010 lead poisoning incident in 2010 in Zamfara State. .
“Air, soil and water pollution cause over nine million premature deaths (16% of all deaths worldwide). This is three times more deaths than those caused by AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined and 15 times more than those also recorded in all wars and other forms of violence.
“Global health crises, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic, highlight the need for continued action to tackle environmental pollution.
“It is evident that the current trend in the global epidemic of disease, the incidence of illnesses and deaths from COVID-19 is directly related to the increase in pollution and climate change.”
Also speaking, Chief Executive Officer Austine Igwe of Printrite criticized the increasing cases of pollution and deforestation resulting from unsustainable production and consumption.
He underscored the need for the world to critically tackle pollution because of its unacceptable consequences on health and human capital, as well as the resulting losses of GDP.
“The pollution that is occurring in Ogoniland and other parts of the Niger Delta region shows a very high level of economic losses and health problems.
“Pollution management appears to offer no-regrets options that can reduce poverty, boost shared prosperity and meet the vital demands of millions of people for healthier and more productive lives,” he added.
Igwe said the world must adopt alternative options to safeguard, enhance sustainability and restore natural and modified ecosystems.
“Systems and processes must be adapted to effectively address societal challenges in order to provide benefits for human well-being and biodiversity across Nigeria and the world’s ecosystems,” he concluded on the occasion. of the World Earth Day session.