By Zakaa Lazarus
Stakeholders in the environment sector have call on the media to advocate the inclusion of environmental concerns in yearly budgets and the spreading of the message of sustainable development to political leaders in the country.
They also called on Journalist covering the environment sector to focus on dissemination of climate change information, risks and mitigation action to the public space.
This call was made at a one-day capacity building workshop of the Environment Media Correspondents Association of Nigeria (EMCAN) held in Abuja.
In his key note address,on Environmental Challenges in Covid-19 Era: Prospects and Plans for State Government in Nigeria,
the Commissioner for Environment, Kogi State, Hon. Chief. Victor Adewale Omofaiye, said the Impact of Covid-19 on Natural Environment: scientists, analysts and academics are linking COVlD-19 to intrusion into extract of high demand resource as possible from a forested area and ecosystems as large companies pursue gain through large farming, cutting down of trees for timber and mining.
The Commissioner also said the Budgeting preparation should give priority to environment because of the complex issues that affect the natural environment.
” If the environment is healthy every other aspects of it will also be healthy, ” he said.
Omofaiye also stressed that, the corona virus pandemic has influenced significant global crisis and the greatest effects are being experienced by the poor, local habitants, the public and civil servants especially in the private sectors all over the world.
In his words “On African countries such as Nigeria, the COVlD-19 pandemic is affecting many economic sectors, social environmental crises such as the unemployment, closure of markets and factories, hunger, increase in poverty levels, social violence such as increase rate of rape cases, civil unrest, climate change, environmental degradation,
is currently affecting the entire world without exception”.
“It is very pertinent to note that the environment is very patient and absorbs both natural and anthropogenic activities but never forgives and gives back severely to the offender”
“Arguably, man through various anthropogenic activities has done more harm than good to the environment.
“Furthermore, it is estimated that 29% of the country’s disease burden is linked to risk factors in the environment being the home of man.
“These activities of man have resulted to numerous environmental problems that are bedeviling the world especially the developing economy.
“While the developed world has imbedded the concept of environmental sustainability, same cannot be said of the underdeveloped world such as Nigeria.
” Aside from the health and the economic effects of Covid-19 such as the loss in both internal and external generation of revenue, closure of markets and businesses, loss of jobs, poverty and hunger among others; there are also environmental effects such as reduction in air pollution, generation of both solid and liquid wastes, land degradation and deforestation,” he explained.
Delivering his goodwill message, the Conservator-General, National Park Service, Dr. Ibrahim Musa Goni who project solutions to environmental hazards said, a healthier environment can prevent about 13 million deaths yearly and avoid 13%-37% of the world’s disease burden, such as 40% of deaths from malaria, 41% of deaths from lower respiratory infections and 94% of deaths from diarrheal
Musa Goni further called on relevant agencies to reduce pollution by second hand vehicles exhaustion by cracking down on illegal importation of the vehicles into Nigeria. And more regular vehicle inspections to ensure vehicle owners service their cars regularly and old vehicles be lagged off the roads to reduce air pollutants’ emissions.
He said the National Park Service has been in the frontline in checking environmental practices that are inimical to the quality of the environment, well being of people and their livelihoods in Nigeria which connote the essence of living. The Service is accomplishing this effort through the following:
“Support Zone Communities sensitization against indiscriminate
bush burning and bush meat consumption to reduce pollution and spread of Zoonotic diseases.
“Provision of health care centres to the Support Zone Communities to improve their health, also provision of borehole to the Support Zone Communities for portable safe drinking water and as well establishment of Woodlots and Orchards in the Support Zone Communities to provide alternative sources of healthy food.
Earlier in his welcome address ,the Chairman, Environment Media Correspondents of Nigeria (EMCAN) Chuks Oyema said
through such capacity building workshop will improve the knowledge and capacity of journalist to report effectively on environmental issues. This he said will particularly pertinent in relation to the green economy as it is an emerging concept.
“It is also building on journalists’ professional skills and knowledge of quality journalism standards in the field of environmental and policy reporting.
“Journalists covering the Environment sector are fully aware of the key challenges but are constrained to bring the issue to the front burner for many reasons such as finance, bureaucratic bottlenecks from government officials in giving information and responding to our request for vital information and not carrying journalists along in terms of coverage and attending Environmental events where these issues are spelt out like the COP among others”.
” It is therefore an excellent opportunity for media professionals to improve their long-term understanding of environmental issues, as well as to enhance their professional qualities.
“This event is coming up a few days to the commencement of UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP26) where over 190 global leaders will gather in Glasgow for 12 days of climate action talks and negotiations.
“We as journalists want to play a part. Nigeria must not be left behind. History will remember what we are doing today.
“On our part as journalists, we remain committed to the goal of a healthy Environment. We will work with relevant stakeholders to ensure our Environment is habitable”. He said.