Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has pledged to support the United Nationâ€™s Sustainable Development concept of â€œdevelop but donâ€™t destroyâ€ as a tool to maintain the natural balance and keep the environment safe for human existence.
The NDDC Managing Director, Mr. Nsima Ekere, stated this yesterday during the World Environment Day celebration organised by the commission at the Arena Event Centre in Port Harcourt.
He said the 17 Sustainable Development Goals endorsed by world lenders at the 70th anniversary of the UN in 2015 touched on water and sanitation, gender issues, peace and security, collaboration and partnerships as necessities for sustainable development.
Ekere, who was represented by the NDDC Director, Special Duties, Dr. Princewill Ekanim, said the sustainable development concept clearly recognised that though development was needed for human advancement, the environment was crucial for human existence.
According to the NDDC boss, the UNâ€™s strategy was â€œto get governments, aid foundations and NGOs on the same page about what global problems most urgently need to be solved and how to measure progress. The hope is that getting all these groups pointed in the same direction will result in greater impact in maintaining the sanctity of the environment and upholding the concept of SD.â€
He noted that people were integral part of nature with the environment as manâ€™s only abode.
He added: â€œGod has premised the environment on a zero waste profile by creating two major kingdoms, the plant and animal kingdoms. Both kingdoms rely on each other for existence and survival.
â€œThere was a strict balance until the era of civilization when man embarked on economic development like construction of highways, building of large malls, stadia etc., which led to massive destruction of trees and other members of the plant kingdom.â€
The NDDC Chief Executive Officer noted that the destructions led to distortions of the natural balance as the environmental systems were unable to use up the excess by-products of manâ€™s activities, including gases like carbon dioxide, methane etc, â€œcreating the so called greenhouse effect on our God given environment.â€
He noted that the greenhouse gases had been implicated as the main cause of global warming with its damaging consequences of; alteration in weather patterns; biodiversity loss; ozone layer depletion and the so called Triple Environmental Phenomenon.
Ekere said other human activities that further aggravated this deadly phenomenon included, bush burning, fossil fuel activities like gas flaring, waste mismanagement, deforestation. These activities, he said, were distorting the natural balance further, and throwing humanity into the vicious cycle of environmental destruction, with the grave consequences of alteration in weather patterns include flooding, shoreline erosion, ocean incursion with massive land loss and drought.
He stressed the need to jointly reduce the effect of environmental degradation caused by black soot pollution, oil pollution deforestation and other un-wholesome practices that adversely affect the environment.
The NDDC Director, Environmental Protection and Control, t Alex Okenwa, stated that June 5 was a â€œvery important date globally for the propagation of the issues of .the environment.
He said: â€œIn our country, the issue of the drying Lake Chad in the North East, the fast advancing Sahara Desert in the entire North to the devastation of the forests and waters of the Niger Delta region by oil exploration and heavy oil spills, as well as the current black soot phenomenon in Port Harcourt and its environs, call for serious environmental concern by government and its agencies.â€
He said that the NDDC had organised different programmes in the past one week to reflect the global theme for this yearâ€™s World Environment Day: â€œConnecting People to Nature.â€
In a goodwill message, the Rivers State Commissioner for Environment, Prof. Roseline Konya, said the digital revolution in the world had contributed to a situation where man had been further distanced from nature. She said that even the way houses were designed these days fail to take advantage of the natural environment.