By Lucy Osuizigbo
Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State on Friday directed immediate planting of 500,000 trees in 78 locations to protect the environment and promote healthy living.
Ambode, represented by his Deputy, Dr Idiat Adebule, gave the directive in Lagos at the 2017 Tree Planting Campaign organised by the Lagos State Parks and Gardens Agency.
The campaign had the theme: “Think Green, Plant Trees, Live Green’’.
The governor said that 6.8 million trees had been planted since the state government started the campaign in 2007.
“To mark this year’s Tree Planting Day, we are adding another 500,000 trees, which will be planted across the state.
“We must remember that trees are essential to human existence, as they provide food, shelter, remedy for all ill health and source of energy,’’ he said.
Ambode added that trees helped to control storm, noise pollution, water runoffs and desert encroachment.
“If we must continue to live in good health, planting of trees will be a strategy that must be embraced by all.
“This is because planting of trees is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to preserve mother earth and combat the ravaging effect of climate change.
“I urge residents and organisations to support this campaign so that, together, we can mitigate the effects of climate change and make our cities and communities healthier,’’ he said.
Ambode said that 570 newly trained youths had been empowered to jump-start the greening programme at the 57 council areas of the state.
He urged private developers to desist from massive deforestation for housing.
Earlier, Dr Samuel Adejare, the state Commissioner for the Environment, said that Lagos lost its bio-diversity to developmental activities and urbanisation.
Adejare said that wetland forest reserves had depreciated due to growing population and city expansion, while felling of trees and destruction of the ecosystem thrived for socioeconomic reasons.
“The continued exploitation and destruction of our natural resources have left us with dire consequences such as global warming, ocean and sea level rise and extinction of exotic flora and fauna.
“This is why the state government is calling on all to embrace tree planting, especially during landmark events such as birthdays, burial and naming, ” he said. (NAN)