By Bennett Oghifo
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode has said there was need to create more awareness about the ideals of nature conservation and promotion of sustainable environmental management.
The governor made the comment during the 2017 Walk for Nature held in conjunction with the Nigerian conservation Foundation (NCF) at the State House, Lagos, recently.
Ambode, who was represented by the Commissioner for the Environment, Dr. Babatunde Adejare noted that by shelving other importantÂ tasks to embrace the 2017 Walk for Nature â€œthe Lagos State Government has not only demonstrated understanding of the important role of the environment to human survival but has gone a step further to raise its voice for the conservation of natureâ€™s resources.â€
He called for a shift in attitude towards the environment, saying that â€œthe growing world population, the mounting pressure on natureâ€™s resources, and the dwindling wildlife, flora and fauna, as well as the implications for our subsistence, have made a shift in attitude towards the environment a necessity.â€
The rich ecosystems in Lagos State, which are home to a variety of aquatic and terrestrial plants and animals, are under serious threat of extinction from a range of causes, chief of which is the rapid urbanisation that has occurred in the state over the past five decades,â€ he said.
He stressed that â€œwe did not have to destroy what was irreplaceable to develop or survive, adding that there was an urgent need to improve on our environment and start taking responsibility for our behavior and the attendant environmental impacts.
â€œGlobal climatic events such as flooding, hurricane and landslide have dawned it on us that any development that is not mindful of the environment and its natural heritage is definitely not sustainable.â€
Ambode stated that it was the goal of the Lagos State Government to encourage sustainable tourism by taking full account of the current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry and host communities because Lagos State had greatÂ advantage in nature-based tourism and ecotourism activities.
â€œThe primary aim of our Administration with regard to tourism is to create an enabling environment for the growth of the sector and maximise the benefits of tourism for the development of our State by influencing patterns of visitor flows and behavior,â€ he stated.
Speaking on the theme for the 2017 Walk for nature, he emphasised that the Cleaner Lagos Initiative, which encapsulates the ongoing broad reforms in the Solid Waste Management sector, and the newly passed environmental laws were both geared towards the preservation of the environment in Lagos State in a holistic and sustainable manner as well as the attainment of a cleaner, healthier and more livable State that would transform into a tourists haven.
Earlier, the Commissioner for the Environment, Dr. Samuel Babatunde Adejare, speaking through the Special Adviser to the Governor on the Environment, Mr. Babatunde Hunpe, stated that the event provided another unique opportunity to celebrate the environment and draw peopleâ€™s attention towards developing and responding efficiently to environmental challenges posed by nature.
He maintained that the major gospel of the day was walking, which was an effective means the government had consistently promoted towards combating health and environmental challenges.
He urged Lagosians to form the habit of walking as such action improved peopleâ€™s health.
He stated that, â€œby this exercise and our continued advocacy programmes, we have seen the emergence of more street joggers and more bicycle riders, who have demonstrated their commitment towards a healthier and fitter citizenry. There is no better proof that our concern for the environment is a worthy one and that our efforts are bearing fruits.â€