Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri has stressed the need for concerted efforts in implementing policies and programmes aimed at protecting the environment to promote healthy living in the country.
Speaking during the 2022 World Environment Day which was marked in Yenagoa with the theme ‘Only One Earth’, Governor Diri noted that poverty reduction and environment protection are intertwined and therefore, must be taken seriously.
The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, decried practices abusing the environment such as tree cutting, indiscriminate bush burning, and the unhealthy use of chemicals for edibles and illegal refining of petroleum products.
He called on all inhabitants of Mother Earth to behave responsibly in their interactions with the environment, while assuring that government will continue to support all efforts targeted at protecting the environment.
The Bayelsa chief executive insisted that, if the efforts of government to protect the environment are sustained, significant progress will be made in the interest of the entire state.
He directed the ministry of Environment and ministry of Lands and Housing to allocate land for the commencement of the Bayelsa Central Nursery and the establishment of a world class eco-laboratory.
His words:” The commissioner for Environment had highlighted positive signals and trends that I am confident if sustained and strengthened over time, would offer Bayelsa State the opportunity to advance the narrative for a more sustainable future for us all.
“Within the limits of available resources, the government of prosperity continues to fully support the Bayelsa State ministry of Environment and sister agencies and is resolved to have them equipped to adequately deliver on their mandate to monitor and protect the environment.
“We must be conscious of the need to protect the environment, we have only one earth. All of us must put environment issues on the front burner. I call on all and sundry to behave responsibly in their interactions with the environment. Government will continue to play its role to make the environment safe”.
In his welcome address, the commissioner for Environment, Chief Iselema Gbaranbiri, stated that the Bayelsa State government was conscious of the need to protect the environment, hence the deployment of a new legal regime and policy framework which shall be unveiled in no distant time.
He expressed appreciation to Governor Diri for supporting the ministry to achieve set goals and assured that they would not rest on their oars but put in more efforts to ensure that the environment is reasonably safe.
While commending local and international firms for their efforts to be socially responsible to their host areas, he called for increased collaboration among the companies, the communities and the state government.
In a lecture delivered at the event, the dean, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Niger Delta University, Professor Meeting Andaowei, advocated the enforcement of laws protecting the environment and encouragement of environmental education in schools.
Prof. Andaowei also identified the formation of environmental action groups and disruption of the value chain of illegally refined products as some of the solutions to the environmental challenges facing the state.
Chairman, State House of Assembly Committee on Environment, Hon. Ebi Ben Ololo, an environmentalist, Chief Okolo Ogobiriowei, among other speakers, stressed the need for conscious efforts such as tree planting, to replenish the polluted environment.