….Harps on concerted effort to achieve SDGs on environment
….Lagos plants 7.5M trees in 10 yrs
By Olasunkanmi Akoni, Lagos
Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu has dedicated the 2020 edition of annual Tree Planting Day to Covid-19 front line health workers for their selflessness and dedication on the battle against the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic in the state.
However, amid challenges of COVID-19 pandemic, Sanwo-Olu sad all hands must be on deck to achieve Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, as outlined by the United Nations.
Sanwo-Olu, made remarks on Tuesday, while marking the tree planting event, themed: “Trees For Life,” held at the Infectious Diseases Hospital, IDH, Yaba, Lagos which also took place, simultaneously, at other three locations.
He said the synergy between environment and health can not be over-emphasised, adding a healthy environment would help in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Today, the tree planting day is dedicated to all our Covid-19 front line workers. This is why we are here at Yaba Infectious Disease Centre, the epic centre of our fight against the pandemic.
“If you remember, we acknowledged the front line workers on this year’s Workers Day. On May 29, we also acknowledged all our frontline workers today July 14, it is also dedicated to them.
According to Sanwo-Olu, the challenges of COVID-19 cannot make us ignore the existing problems and issues that predated the pandemic and cannot become an excuse for taking peoples’ attention away from other issues.
“One of such is the issue of climate change and environmental sustainability. Lagos has seen its own fair share of climate change.
“We are not immune to global warming and the various other climatic challenges experienced around the world.”
He urged people to key into the plan and support the efforts of the government, just as the world approaches the final decade of the push for the attainment of SDGs as outlined by the United Nations.
Sanwo-Olu said: “Goal 13 of the SDGs challenges us to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts, while Goal 15 seeks to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.
“Lagos State will continue to be at the forefront of sustainable climate action in Nigeria and Africa. Everyone has a role to play in contributing strongly to these goals, including individuals, corporate organisations, national governments, as well as sub-national governments like Lagos.”
He commended the Ministry of the Environment and Lagos State Parks and Gardens, LASPARK for sustaining the culture and sensitisation of residents on the importance of tree planting.
Commissioner for the Environment, Mr Tunji Bello, said tree planting remained the effective remedial action against erosion, pointing out that the perennial problem of flooding could be solved if residents fully embraced tree planting as new culture.
He said, “From 2011, till date, over 7.5 million trees have been planted since LASPARK was established in 2011.
“The interdependence of man and the environment in which we exist is becoming increasingly clearer. As countries respond to a global pandemic, the path ahead presents possibly a once in a lifetime opportunity to shift the global development paradigm towards more sustainable and inclusive policies that will act as foundation for resilient people and societies. This is what informed the choice of ‘Tree for Life’ as the theme of this year’s tree-planting exercise.”
The Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, pledged to work collaboratively with the Ministry of the Environment to fight diseases and deforestation.
Tree-planting events were held simultaneously in three other isolation centres across the state by the Deputy Governor, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, wife of the Governor, Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu and wife of the Deputy Governor, Mrs Oluremi Hamzat.