By Henry Uche
The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, Lagos Council has called on the Lagos State government to protect wetlands, curb open defecation, all kinds of pollution and land abuse by residents in the State.
In a statement jointly signed by the State Chairman, Comrade Gbenga Ekundayo and the State Secretary, Comrade Aladetan Abiodun, the duo stated that all hands must be on deck to save the Environment and humanity.
Felicitating with Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwoolu on this year’s World Environment Day, a day globally recognized to commemorate the importance of a sustainable environment to living, livelihood, habitats and the ecosystem, TUC noted with dismay the incessant abuse of the ecosystem in different dimensions.
The Congress decried that over 87% of vacant wetlands in metropolitan Lagos have been converted to high density, unplanned residential housing spaces which is not only capable of causing untoward assaults on the ecosystem, but also responsible for the disruption of ecological balance and biodiversity.
“This year’s Theme: “Ecosystem Restoration” aptly located our thoughts on the current state of the environment in the state. For over three decades, Lagos has undergone rapid urbanization and infrastructural developments. Spurred by demands for lands and housing, successive city planners in metropolitan Lagos, characterised by low-lying tidal flats, estuaries, wetlands, and sandy barrier beaches, have haphazardly embarked on reclamation, sand-filling of the lagoon shores, excessive dredging, encroachment on natural drainage channels and unrestrained deforestation.
“Available records show that the mangrove wetland in Lagos decreased from 88.51km square to 19.95km square at -3.12km square annually while Swamps decreased from 344.75km square to 165.37km square at 8.15km square annually. Out of the 20 LGA in the state, 10 Local Councils are coterminous with the lagoon shores and wetlands.
“However, with the spate of reclamation and uncontrolled waterfront projects in the state, only four (4) councils can still boast of the presence of wetland by 2020. This can spell unprecedented environmental hazards in the foreseeable future. The loss of capacity of the wetlands to hold surface runoffs may cause flooding and unprecedented destruction of lives and properties of the inhabitants of the State,”
It added that further assaults on the wetlands can also deny Lagosians the numerous goods and functions freely delivered by wetlands to the ecosystem and human habitats, which includes: flood storage and distribution, retention of sediments and nutrients, aesthetics, educational benefits, aquifer recharge, ground water quality improvement and a host of other benefits which unrestrained assaults on the wetlands may deny Lagosians.
They urged the State Government to intensify efforts in Greener environment campaign to be tagged #GREENERLAGOS, saying that house owners in the State should be encouraged to plant and nurture at least 1 tree. “The creation & maintenance of green parks is more compelling this time and there is an urgent need to Empower members of KAI to enforce cleanliness in the environment. Drainages cleanup must be sustained and improved while the government must ensure Public transport compliance with dirt management,”
They appealed to the State government to expedite actions on such environmental issues as open defecation, which has direct effects on the health and wellness of Lagosians as well as noise pollution, air pollution, indiscriminate disposal of untreated sewage into the lagoon and water bodies as well as pollution of groundwater. “The state is charged to improve on the installation of eco-friendly, effective and efficient sewage plants that will ensure the treatment of sewage and other waste water before release.
“This will prevent prevailing pollution of groundwater in the state and avert outbreak of diseases that may cause national or global emergencies. The State is equally enjoined to improve access to portable water and significantly reduce emission of carbon monoxide from industries and automobiles.
“We congratulate the Governor for this year’s edition of World Environment Day as we further stretch our hands of partnership to this administration in its unrelenting quest to make the state a livable, aesthetically resplendent to be regional and global investment destination,” the statement reads.