The Anambra government has called on residents to shun unhealthy environmental practices contributing to erosion menace and other degradation in the state.
Mr Obi Nwabkwo, Commissioner for Environment in Anambra, made the call at an event marking the 2021 World Environment Day (WED) celebration in Awka, on Saturday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme for this year’s celebration is “Restoring the Ecosystem”.
Nwabkwo, who was represented by Dr Emmanuel Okafor, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, said that erosion was the greatest threat to the environment in the state and needed conscious effort to be tackled.
He said the environment must be protected to ensure that the interaction between man, air and trees were maintained, noting that apart from saving the earth, it also ensured that humans enjoyed good health.
Okafor said that Anambra was fast losing its land, over 1,000 active sites which could have been used for construction and farming, to erosion.
He advised that people should plant trees, evacuate waste properly and develop buildings in such a way that flooding did not become a challenge to the surrounding.
“The message is that people should know that we cannot survive without the environment, our lives are anchored on the environment, the food we eat, the air we breathe, the land we cultivate and others.
“Restoring the ecosystem means we have to save our greenery, ensure that the temperature does not rise too much such that we get burnt and our earth begins to wash away and shrink available faming land,” he said.
Okafor said there was need to check unbridled grazing to avert desertification, which was being experienced in the Northern part of the country.
On his part, Mr Mike Ivenso, Project Coordinator of Nigeria Erosion Watershed Management Protect (NEWMAP), said it was more cost effective to prevent erosion than to control it.
Ivenso, who was represented by Emeka Achebe, Communications Officer of NEWMAP, said that human attitude to the environment was the greatest threat to its sustainability.
Ivenso further advised residents to take ownership of their environment in view of its importance to human existence.
He said that inculcating the right attitude to the environment was one of the greatest achievements of NEWMAP, apart from the 13 sites it intervened and rescued across the state.
Also speaking, Mrs Juliana Edochie, a Director in the Ministry of Agriculture, said people should convert available land around their surroundings to homestead farms.
Edochie said this would help conserve the environment and boost self-sufficiency in food production.
NAN reports that the 2021 WED was celebrated in conjunction with Earth, Environment and Climate Change Ambassador, an environment-based Civil Society group in Anambra.
NAN also reports that the WED, celebrated globally every June 5, is a day set aside by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly.
The significance is to create awareness on environmental protection, especially from the rising pollution and its impact on climate change. (NAN)