Anambra State has joined the global community to commemorate the 2023 edition of World Earth Day with the global theme: “Invest in our earth”.
The day, which was first commemorated in 1973, with the slogan “Only One Earth”, is observed annually to spread awareness about issues, including the rampant increase in pollution, global warming, and deforestation, which harm the environment and result in the destruction of the planet.
Also known as International Mother Earth Day, the day brings countries all over the world together to raise awareness about the dire need to protect our environment.
“Anambra State Government also realized the need to protect its immediate environment,” remarked Felix Odimegwu, the State Commissioner for Environment, hence the decision to organize the town-hall meeting which drew experts from environment-related fields as well as government functionaries, traditional rulers, non-state actors and Managing Director, Lagos State Waste Management Agency, LAWMA, Adeleye Odebunmi, who shared the Lagos experience on sustainable waste management, which the state government still finds problematic.
Mr. Odebunmi stressed the need for the Anambra State Government to invest heavily in waste management, work in close relationships with community leaders and ensure strict and impartial enforcement of relevant laws.
In a presentation, a professor in Soil Science and Land Resources Management Department, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Peter Nnabude, regretted the rate at of deforestation in the state due to massive urbanization and industrialization which has no regard for environmental impact assessment, (EIA).
He stressed the need for all the stakeholders to act on all that had been said at the forum when they returned to their respective communities and spheres of influence. “At the end, people should go home and start doing some practical things that had been mentioned here. The Anambra state theme of this meeting is Clean, green, and sustainable Anambra State.
“The global theme is Invest on our earth. When you go back, you must plant a tree. We charge government, citizens, contractors, and developers on the need to invest in our planet Earth to improve our environment and give our descendants a better and safer future. If we destroy the environment, our future generation will have nowhere to live in. That is why we are here today,” he said.
Earlier, another professor, Leo Moghalu, noted that the current generation will be doomed unless there is a positive change of attitude in terms of their relationship with the earth.
He lamented that the state lacks a disaster management circle, which is the reason it does not manage flooding and erosion effectively, and tasked the government to empower its emergency management agency to live up to people’s expectations.
On prevention and remediation, the university don called for the “passing of a revised comprehensive forest law to enable Anambrarians to access the environmental, economic and social benefits of forests and trees, as well as reforestation and constitution of severely gullied areas as forest estates or reserves as well as regulations to punish infractions in forest reserves.”
Addressing the gathering, the state deputy governor, Onyekachi Ibezim, described the land as gold in the state, noting regrettably that no part of the state has been spared by erosion menace.
“Anambra State is the capital of erosion in the whole of Nigeria. We are intentional and serious in reversing the ugly trend. As we do our part as government, we plead with you to do your own as community leaders to save our state because if the environment is gone, we will be gone with it.
“We cannot cheat the environment and go scot-free. Look at indiscriminate waste disposal. Even as I sit down here, I saw people dropping the nylon and plastic bottles on the floor and I am sure they leave it here and go away. This is the problem and we need to change to achieve the clean, green, and sustainable Anambra State,” he concluded.