The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has stressed the importance of preventing, halting, and reversing environmental damages to the ecosystems in the Niger Delta region through tree planting and aquatic marine litter clean up exercise.
Speaking at a ceremony to commemorate this year’s World Environment Day at the new NDDC headquarters, the Interim Administrator, Mr. Efiong Akwa, harped on the need for a healthy ecosystem to enhance people’s livelihoods, counteract climate change and stop the collapse of biodiversity.
Akwa, who was represented by the NDDC Director, Environment Protection and Control, Engr. Onuoha Obeka, said that the theme; “Ecosystem Restoration,” charged people to get outdoors and appreciate the beauty of nature and its importance.
He said: “We are pleased to be active participants in the campaign for the restoration of our ecosystem. Part of our efforts will be in planting trees, cleaning the litters along the waterways for the preservation of our aquatic environment for future generations.”
The NDDC Chief Executive Officer said that symbolic tree planting would gradually become a natural event that everyone would undertake not just for celebration of World Environment Day but a spark for awareness creation for preserving the environmental heritage of the Niger Delta region.
He said: “People are integral part of nature, with the environment as man’s only abode.” He noted, however, that social-economic development had led to massive destruction of the earth, which had caused Ozone layer depletion, flooding, ocean erosion, deforestation among others.
The guest Speaker and a lecturer in the department of Forest and wildlife Management, University of Port Harcourt, Dr Uzoma Chima, commended the efforts of the NDDC in protecting the environment, stating that protecting the environment will add value to humanity.
Chima, who spoke on the importance of trees to ecological restoration, stressed the importance of focusing on the restoration of our ecosystem because of the degradation that has taken place over the years.
He noted that trees play a crucial role in the restoration of the ecosystem because they help in the mitigation of climate change. He noted that trees provide the needed shelter belt which goes a long way in checking erosion.
He emphasized the importance of tree planting, adding that “tree planting helps to control noise pollution, protect soil erosion and provide shed for the environment.”
In his own remarks, the NDDC Director, Health and Social Services, Engr. Ukeme Nkamare, noted that the world’s ecosystems involved the interaction between plants, animals and people and their surroundings. He said: “For far too long, people have been exploiting and destroying our Earth’s ecosystems causing the loss of natural habitats and carbon sinks, which in turn intensifies the climate crisis. We all depend on healthy ecosystems for our survival.”
Nkamere deplored the devastating effects of sooth on the environment and the health of the residents of the Niger Delta region.
The NDDC Environmental Protection and Control Directorate later carried out a symbolic aquatic marine litter clean up exercise at the Port Harcourt Tourist Beach, after presenting shovels, pans, rakes, wheel barrows and waste bins to the management of the beach.