Environmentalist laments shift from ‘grass’ to ‘interlocks’ as stakeholders propose solutions to deforestation


NNN: An environmentalist, Mr Yahaya Muhammad, has lamented the growing practice of using ‘bolts’ or ’tiles’ as a gain from planting grass in homes.

The News Agency of Nigeria correspondent observes that most households, especially the elites, have resorted to the use of cement locks in their compounds and premises to prevent those compounds from being muddy or waterlogged. water during the rainy season.

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Similarly, most government agencies and ministries across the country also have a practice of decorating certain portions of streets or highways, using interlocks, instead of planting green grass in those places.

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Mr. Yahaya Muhammed, Comptroller General of a Kaduna-based non-governmental organization (NGO), Safety Awareness and Environmental Support Initiative (SAESI), made the observation while responding to the Nigeria News Agency survey. on the need to accelerate reforestation efforts in order to protect the environment.

He observed that such a practice amounted to “modifying the environment” as the application of grass had the dual benefits of being environmentally friendly, as well as preventing mud in enclosures and surrounding areas.

He lamented that modernization had taken over the minds of people who barely had time to reflect on the effect of the move from “grass” to “interlocks” on the environment.

“Most people no longer appreciate the wisdom of planting and tending grass on the ground in and around their compounds as part of the measures to keep their environment from being muddy during the rainy season. .

“The fashion now is to spend huge amounts of money on interlocking blocks and tiles, as opposed to using grass.

“While interlocks only prevent surface washout, green grass absorbs water naturally, preventing erosion, in addition to serving the medical purpose of sharpening the eyes, as confirmed by experts at health,” said Muhammed.

He also described as “worrying” the level at which people in African countries, especially Nigeria, were deforesting, attributing this development to the lack of an affordable alternative source of energy for cooking, especially in the countryside where most people depended on firewood.

Muhammed stressed that drastic sensitization was needed to encourage reforestation to enable Nigerians to understand and appreciate the benefits of planting trees.

“A key reason that most people are unaware of is that the carbon dioxide we breathe is absorbed by trees and these plants release oxygen in return, which we breathe in to survive.

“The moment we make people realize that they are putting their lives at risk by cutting down trees, it is better for all of us because people will now appreciate the dangers of cutting down trees and the benefits of planting trees. trees.

“We are happy that the Kaduna state government has made it compulsory to build tree houses to protect the environment,” Muhammed said.

Furthermore, Ms. Gloria Kasang, Environmental Activist and Executive Director of an NGO, Bridge That Gap Initiative, highlighted the importance of forest resources as a source of food, medicine and furniture, among others.

She said a relentless campaign of awareness and sensitization was needed to protect forest resources from the threat posed by human activities.

She explained that reforestation was necessary to sustain the ecosystem and therefore advocated for the vigorous implementation of all forest management, conservation and tree planting programs.

“Our biodiversity is very important to us; we also need to look at other ways to mitigate climate change, ways to adapt and ways to fight desertification, with everyone in agreement to succeed,” Kasang said.

In his contribution, Mr. Richard Nzekwu, Climate Change Specialist, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Katsina, Katsina State, said that the rapid disappearance of some tree and forest species in the savanna region of the country was worrying.

Speaking at a sensitization exercise in Katsina, Nzekwu said illuminating communities on the dangers of tree felling was paramount.

He noted that the soil had been degraded due to poor agricultural practices, including bush burning and tree felling.

“It is therefore incumbent on us to always plant new trees around us and not cut down existing ones to secure our environment,” he warned.

For its part, the Zamfara state government said it had reached agreements to plant one million trees as part of efforts to combat encroaching desert and soil erosion.

The state’s deputy governor, Senator Hassan Nasiha, told NAN in Gusau that the exercise would involve the collaboration of state NGOs.

Nasiha said the government has already signed a memorandum of understanding with the NGOs to ensure the full cultivation of the planted trees.

“As one of the frontline desert states in Nigeria, with its 50% landmass at risk of desertification, coupled with land degradation, occasioned by annual floods during the rainy season, it has become necessary to take proactive measures,” he said.

He argued that climate change was a major driving force of armed banditry plaguing the state, adding that the threat was the effect resulting from the taking over of grazing reserves, water and resting places. pastors.

He pointed out that the state government is now channeling resources to address all the challenges including the establishment of modern pastoral settlements known as RUGA.

According to him, the state government has already mainstreamed the World Bank-funded Semi-Arid Landscapes Agro-Climate Resilience Program, of which desertification control and landscape management is one of its components.

In Kano, the state environment commissioner, Dr Kabiru Getso, said the state government launched a tree-planting campaign in May for the planting of more than 2 million seedlings of trees.

Also, in a related development, the African Desertification Control Institute (ADCI) said it will plant about 1,600 native trees to complement efforts to reduce desertification in Kano state.

The institute’s national director, Dr. Danladi Dahiru, said the institute had already set aside four hectares to be used for the project, noting that many native trees were gradually going extinct.

The country director observed that these native trees had a slow growth rate, saying the institute intended to conduct research to improve their growth.

For his part, an environmental expert in Sokoto, Malam Auwal Musa, reminded stakeholders of the warning contained in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report that global temperatures should be controlled against rising.

“Subsequently, tree planting is recognized as one of the most engaging and environmentally friendly activities people can engage in to make the earth habitable for humans.

“Trees offer a myriad of benefits, both long- and short-term, in addition to being aesthetically appealing.

“They remove and store carbon from the atmosphere, slow down heavy rains and thereby reduce the risk of flooding, improve air quality and improve the urban heat island effect by reflecting sunlight and by providing shade.

“Furthermore, the physical weight of a tree is about 50% carbon; because these trees have a strong climate change mitigation effect when there are enough of them,” he said.

Musa added that the reforestation process is not only necessary to combat desertification, but a necessity to reduce risk and vulnerability to flood hazards.
Mr. Hayatu Bawa, Kebbi State Commissioner for Environment and Solid Minerals, told NAN that as part of the state government’s efforts to combat flooding and deforestation, he has distributed 40 000 economic tree seedlings to serve as an economic enterprise and strengthen the fight against the advance of the desert and floods. .

“Recently, we distributed 40,000 assorted seedlings of mango, papaya, banana, date palm, moringa, guava, orange and cashew nuts to all 21 members of the local government guardian committee for distribution to farmers and others interested in plant and grow to maturity.

“Additionally, Kebbi State has 20 forest reserves across the state, but unfortunately some people engaged in the charcoal business have depleted these reserves,” he lamented.

The commissioner called on the state government to employ more staff as rangers to control the unnecessary felling of trees in the forest.

In his contribution, National Environmental Standards and Regulation Agency (NESREA) Kebbi State Office Coordinator Alhaji Nasiru Hassan said his office warned construction companies against illegal logging. of trees.

He said these acts had exposed the state to the threat of deforestation and desertification.

“We will not hesitate to enforce environmental laws aimed at minimizing the advancing desert and other environmental hazards that are ravaging the state and the country,” he warned.

NewsSourceCredit: NAN

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