By Abraham Ibini
Since the industrial revolution, the world population growth has increased exponentially, and with population growth, the environment has been affected profoundly. Today, the world is facing serious environmental challenges from gas flaring to the depletion of the ozone layer, deforestation, and other human activities which have resulted in the degradation of lands across the world, excessive heats, soot, pollution of the water as well as exposing society to diseases related to environmental pollution.
June 5th of every year is set aside as the World Environment Day. It is the United Nation’s vehicle for encouraging awareness and actions for the protection of the environment. To play her role in protecting the environment and creating awareness on issues of the environment in Nigeria, Kebetkache Women Development and Resource Centre, a non-governmental organization hosted stakeholders in Rivers State to a celebration of the World Environment Day 2020 with the theme, “Biodiversity” at Community Secondary School, Orowurokwu, D/line, Port- Harcourt.
Mr.Tomii Dumbari K, the deputy director, Ministry of Environment and the secretary of Tree Planning Committee in Rivers State was at the event as a representative of the permanent secretary, Rivers State Ministry of Environment.
Principal, vice principal and management staff of the Community Secondary School were on hand as well as some partner community based organizations as well as some members of the host community.
Okon, Kebetkache executive director being assisted to plant a tree
“This year’s theme “BIODIVERSITY’’ chosen by the United Nation is very central, important and critical because of the current challenge posed by global warming which is another potential threat to humanity.
“The importance of this theme cannot be overstressed because Biodiversity is the nucleus or epicentre of our human existence. Without Biodiversity there will be anarchy arising from food insecurity, lack of social needs, local migration, lack of income, loss of livelihood, ,invasion of territories as we have seen in the past and even more from the herdsmen looking for more fertile ground, while their cows destroy farmers crops. All these will certainly lead to political conflict.
“Biodiversity as this year’s theme is also apt coming at a time when the world is experiencing economic recession due to the ravaging pandemic and it is vital for us to quickly find solution to overcome this especially through vigorous livelihood implementation in agriculture and training especially for women.
“Biodiversity also provides a functioning ecosystem that supplies oxygen, clean air and water. Others are pollination of plants, pest control, waste water treatment and many other ecosystem services. Also, it provides recreation, youth camping and increase eco-tourism. We use this opportunity to demand for clean water in our communities by government”, the release stated.
Noting that biodiversity ensures the delicate-operation of natural cycles (that make the earth habitable, provides food and drugs including the reduction of natural disasters like flood, pollution and climate change, the organization pointed out that the violation of biodiversity creates room for infections like the current pandemic.
Calling on government, corporate bodies and Niger Deltans to protect the environment, Kebetkache said it is training women to speak up on the ills of environmental abuse.
“Kebetkache has continued to campaign against pollution, flood and lack of livelihood for women in the Niger Delta and Ogoni in particular.We have over the years trained women from various communities to speak against the pollution of their environment which will indirectly protect the biodiversity.
“For instance, last year, women in their numbers gathered at Akwa Ibom State demanding for environmental justice which is directly in recognition of the roles of biodiversity as an integral part of the environment, by helping in world food production.
“We therefore, use this medium to call on oil companies in the Niger Delta to protect our biodiversity by providing the best practice in oil exploitation and explorations. The millions of dead fishes recently discovered in Bonny Local Government Area, may not be unconnected to crude ways of discharging chemicals into our waterways, streams, creeks and ocean”
The women advocate body called on the people to think wisely before picking political leaders..
“It is pertinent for us to only vote for leaders who have interest of protecting our environment because, the environment is a legacy to the unborn generation”.
It also noted that illegal refining is a serious threat to biodiversity especially, “the mangrove that breed different species of fish and help in sucking carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, ” and called for the planting of trees and government intervention to ensure biodiversity to properly protect the environment.