Lagos State Government has said that additional 500,000 trees will be planted simultaneously in 78 locations across the State today to mark the celebration of the 10th year of Tree Planting thereby increasing the total number of trees planted since the inception of the initiative to more than 7million.
Delivering a Keynote address on Friday at an event marking the 2017 edition of the celebration in Shasha Recreational Park, Alimosho, Governor Akinwumi Ambode stated that the sustained commitment to the yearly exercise has consecutively earned the State national and global recognition in environmental sustainability.
Speaking on this year’s tree planting campaign theme: ‘Think Green, Plant Trees, Live Green’, Ambode, who was represented by the Special Adviser on Environment, Hon. Babatunde Hunpe, maintained that the tree planting initiative corroborates the State’s Environmental Sustainability Policy which, in the last two years, has guided government’s actions on matters relating to the environment.
He said “Today, a total of 6,834,938 (Six million, eight hundred and thirty-four thousand, nine hundred and thirty-eight) trees have been planted state wide. To mark this year’s Tree Planting day, we are adding another 500,000 trees which will be planted simultaneously in 78 locations across the State.”
“In order to sustain the tempo of the Greener Lagos initiative and create more avenues for relaxation and family bonding, I have directed that Parks and Gardens Unit be resuscitated in all the 20 Local Government Areas and the 37 Local Council Development Areas of the State to complement the efforts of the Lagos State Parks and Gardens Agency (LASPARK). In addition, 570 newly trained youths have been empowered to jump-start the greening programme at the Local Government level”, the Governor added.
Ambode emphasized the need for private developers in the State to support the tree planting campaign by desisting from massive deforestation in the name of site clearance for housing and infrastructural development without necessary authorisation from the government, warning that indiscriminate felling of trees in Lagos State contravenes the State’s Environmental Law.
He used the occasion to appreciate individuals, organizations and groups that have been consistent in supporting the annual Tree Planting programme, saying that the partnership was responsible for the feat achieved so far in the State’s Greener Lagos initiative.
He said, “I urge you to sustain your support for this programme so that together, we can achieve our objective to mitigate the effects of climate change and make our cities and communities more healthy and livable.”
Earlier, the Commissioner for the Environment, Dr. Babtunde Adejare said that the realization of the role which tree planting play in protecting the environment informed the decision of the State Government to pay cursory attention to the initiative.
He said that the present administration appreciates this reality and has remained in the forefront of environmental regeneration through its commitment to the proliferation of trees and green areas in the State.
Adejare explained that rapid urbanization of Lagos had affected the biodiversity of all forms of developmental activities in the State, such as building and road construction as well as production activities.
“Our wetland forest reserves had depreciated due to growing population and city expansion while felling of trees and destruction of the Ecosystem had thrived for socioeconomic reasons.” he stated.
The Commissioner regrettably noted that disregard for nature and unfriendly environmental attitudes, continued exploitation and destruction of natural resources have left the world with dire consequences such as global warming, ocean and sea level rise and extinction of exotic flora and fauna.
Adejare, however urged Lagosians to team up with the government and work for the realisation of its development agenda and sustainable goals, particularly as it relates to the reforms in the environment sector where the people are the direct beneficiary of 27,500 new jobs, a cleaner state, and all-year-round drainage management for effective and efficient flood control, among others.