·       Kicks off planting of 5 million trees in Imo 

By Dorcas Samson Achi

The Nigerian Institute of Environmental Engineers (NIEE) as part of activities to mark the year’s World Environment Day has kicked off the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030) with the aim of recovering the ecosystem which they said has suffered degradation due to extensive human activities and manipulation.

Dr Mrs Ngozi Claribelle Nwogu, chairman, Nigerian Institute of Environmental Engineers, Imo State Chapter, during a press briefing on June 3, 2021 elaborated the activities of NIEE in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Imo State which include planting of trees along degraded marginal lines of Otammiri and Nworie lands, within the fragile ecosystems of the water shed trees in order to protect and reclaim the sites while at the same time offering incentives for carbon sequestration, alternative livelihood options for the affected communities.

Dr Mrs Nwogu while addressing newsmen highlighted the activities lined up for this year’s Environmental day as follows:Press Conference and Radio Phone-in Program, Environmental Sanitation Exercise, Demonstration and commencement of planting of 5 million trees at both small and large scales, Public lecture by Prof. Michael A. Nwachukwu of the Department of Environmental Management, Federal University of Technology Owerri ( FUTO)

According to her, the UN ecosystem restoration decade which runs from (2021 to 2030) is also the deadline for the sustainable development goals (SDGs), as well as the timeline scientists have identified as the last chance to prevent catastrophic climate change and will reshape the environment for the present and future generations. 

She condemned the unsafe act of discharge of untreated waste water into Nworie and Otamiri which has posed serious health challenges to Imo populace and also reduced the aquatic life survival rate due to presence of nitrates which combine with the food chain to poison fishes. Hence the reason for deeming it necessary to organize various environmental activities for the year to educate the populace on the need to protect the ecosystem.

She charged Imolites to maintain environmental sanitation and get prepared to henceforth, plant at least two plants  a day, 60 plants a month and 750 per annum in their houses and farms in order to achieve the set goal of planting five million trees in the state to build a formidable ecosystem restoration process. She also requested corporate bodies, development partners, public, private organizations and individuals within Imo State to desist from abuse of the ecosystem and comply with international and national standards and policies geared towards safeguarding the environment.

Some dignitaries at the occasion include Chief Louis Duru, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Environment, Mrs Onwuchi Sabina, Acting Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Engr Chidi Ugochukwu, Owerri Chapter Chairman of NIEE, Engr Godwin Ihegworo, Chairman NIEE, Okigwe branch among other stakeholders.