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NIEE Commemorates World Environment Day

On Saturday, June 8, 2024, the Lagos State Chapter of the Nigerian Institution of Environmental Engineers (NIEE) commemorated World Environment Day at the Cozy Residenze Apart’Hotel in Ikeja.

Engr. Yusuf Majolagbe, Chairman of the Lagos State NIEE, delivered an address focusing on the theme “Land Restoration, Desertification, and Drought Resilience,” stressing the need for land restoration in combating environmental challenges in Lagos State.

“The health of our planet begins with the health of our land. Land is not just the ground beneath our feet; it is the foundation of ecosystems, food provider, biodiversity keeper, and climate regulator. Yet, it is under threat like never before,” he said.

He urged the Lagos State Government to educate residents about laws related to climate change, the built environment, and agriculture, adding that healthy land is resilient land capable of withstanding climate change and human activities.

Majolagbe pointed out that desertification and drought affect 35% of Nigeria’s total land area, posing a threat to over 40 million people.

He stressed the need to address unsustainable land management practices, deforestation, overgrazing, and improper agricultural methods to combat these challenges effectively.

Citing significant progress, he noted, “Over 1,300 hectares of degraded land have been restored in Lagos State through various environmental initiatives and programmes.”

Some of the strategies he outlined for land restoration include implementing practices like crop rotation and agroforestry, planting trees to restore forest cover and stabilise soil and efficient water use through technologies like drip irrigation and rainwater harvesting.

Engr. Majolagbe called for collaborative efforts between federal and state governments, NGOs, the private sector, and civil society to scale up successful land restoration practices.

He also urged the Lagos State Government to approve the Draft Lagos State Building Code, requiring residents to reserve 30% of their unbuilt compound space as a green area.

“Land restoration is a powerful tool to combat desertification and build resilience to drought. It is an investment in our future, in the health of our planet, and in the well-being of humanity,” he concluded.

Also, the National Chairman of the Nigerian Institution of Environmental Engineers (NIEE), Engr. Nureni Adegboyega Ogunyemi, said it is urgent to tackle environmental challenges, as nearly one-third of the Earth’s land is threatened by desertification, impacting over a billion people.

“Today, our planet faces unprecedented environmental challenges. Desertification threatens nearly one-third of the Earth’s land area, impacting over a billion people across more than 100 countries. Meanwhile, prolonged droughts, exacerbated by climate change, are becoming more frequent and severe, jeopardizing food security, water availability, and livelihoods worldwide.”

He said it is important to reverse the adverse effects of land degradation and called for sustainable land management practices, reforestation, and the restoration of wetlands and grasslands.

He advocated for community empowerment through knowledge and resources to implement sustainable practices.

“Desertification is not merely the expansion of existing deserts; it is the degradation of once-fertile lands into barren wastelands. Human activities such as deforestation, overgrazing, and inappropriate agricultural practices are the primary drivers. Combating desertification requires a concerted effort to manage land sustainably and mitigate climate change.”

“We must empower local communities with knowledge and resources to implement sustainable practices. This includes improving soil fertility, efficient water management, and diversifying crops. By fostering community-led initiatives and strengthening policies, we can halt and reverse the spread of desertification,” Ogunyemi noted. 

Engr. Ogunyemi urged for collective action from the Lagos State Government, the private sector, and civil society to promote sustainable land use and build resilience against environmental threats. 

“As we commemorate World Environment Day 2024, let us recognise the interdependence of land restoration, desertification, and drought resilience. Our actions today will determine the health and prosperity of future generations,” he concluded.

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