By Tare Youdeowei

IN its bid to enlighten Nigerians on ways to save the ecosystem, reduce carbon monoxide emissions and eliminate flooding, Society for Environmental Toxicology and Pollution Mitigation SETPOM, has joined the world to commemorate 2017 World Environment Day WED, with a call for a shift to green infrastructure.

The call was made during a public lecture at the University of Lagos, with the theme, “Connecting People with Nature; I am for Nature”, which was the theme of this year’s World Environment Day, by guest speakers Houssam Azem,  Director, Scuba Lagos and Lagos Jet Ski Riders Club; Emamoke Chris Dare, Managing Director, Rainforest Ltd, as well as Fyneray Mbata, Safety, Health and Environment Manager, MTN Nigeria, who was chairman of the occasion.

A proponent of green infrastructure, Mrs. Emamoke Chris Dare lamented the use of ecologically unfriendly materials for infrastructure, pointing out that  “Driveways and roads should be water percolating to avoid flooding. We are using materials that are not ecologically friendly to build houses; these retain heat, trap water and when it rains, we have floods.

“Natural swales are better than concrete gutters. They retain and purify water before it goes to the lagoon. This is green infrastructure, which is essentially replacing ecologically unfriendly building materials with greenery; grass, trees, swales, flower pots, green roofs etc. The key is to use low impact development features for storm water management, such as pavers, bioswales, these slow down water, soak it up and keep it clean.”

Insisting that waste management in Nigeria be re-evaluated, Mr. Fyneray Mbata enthused, “If we all are to connect to nature on a personal level, we must first look into how we manage our waste. As we build our children a highly industrialized future, we need to carefully ensure that we do so without doing more harm to nature than good.

Honing on the need for fishermen to be trained to mitigate the rapidly depleting fish reserves, Mr. Horsham Azem implored that “What people don’t know is that to save the ecosystem, fishermen need to study fishes. Some fishes are territorial, they do not migrate.

“If you keep fishing from that same area without allowing time for them to breed and the young to grow and mature, it is a matter of time before all the fishes disappear. Another problem is that because of the immense waste in our waters, the migratory fishes are scared away. Where they would have ordinarily gone to breed is no longer healthy so they move elsewhere.

“Waste on the sea takes 400 to 500 years to decompose. Currently the Atlantic Ocean has islands of waste, so stop littering the environment. Your litter goes to the gutter, from gutter to the lagoon and eventually, the sea. The solution all begins with each of us. We need to know that our environment goes beyond the home or office, it is everywhere”, Azem said.

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