Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Thursday cautioned residents of the State to desist from indiscriminate and uncontrolled felling of trees, just as he harped on the benefits of tree planting to healthy environment.
Speaking at the 2016 Annual Tree Planting Day organized by the Lagos State Parks and Gardens Agency (LASPARK) at Ikosi Senior Secondary School, Governor Ambode described tree planting as the most reliable and cheapest means of combating the effect of global warming, flooding and climate change, adding that such was the more reason why people must protect the trees and plant more to replace those removed.
The Governor, who was represented at the event tagged: “Lend a Hand to Save Trees,” by his wife, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode said the importance of tree planting to the society cannot be overemphasized as trees provide oxygen, cool the atmosphere, help conserve energy, save water, prevent erosion, save children from ultra-violet Rays and provide food, among other benefits.
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode said that the annual programme on tree planting was a veritable platform for Lagos to meet the target of 10 million trees by 2020, noting that the peculiarity of the State as a coastal city-state makes it prone to several environmental challenges, a situation which demands that the government and the people must carry out infrastructural development without jeopardizing the environment.
He said: "The fast growing urban development areas across the State must curtail the uncontrolled felling of trees and ensure all developers adhere to all the Town Planning and Greening regulations.
"We must plant trees to replace those removed from vast acres of land so that we reduce the rate of ocean surge and erosion with its attendant problem of displacement of homes and communities."
While alluding to the estimate of scientists that the world needs 30 billion trees annually, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode said a world without trees is a world without life, and so as a people, Nigerians must resolve to ensure that trees are not only saved, but efforts must be geared towards planting more trees.
According to the Governor, “Lagos has become a positive reference point in Nigeria about creating a Green environment. We remain committed to this cause and will vigorously pursue the State Greening Policy of total regeneration of degraded sites as part of our pact with Lagosians. We will do even more.
"Already, the Security and Light Up Lagos initiatives of our administration are complementing our beautiful city at night and ensuring the parks and gardens that are safe for relational purposes."
Besides, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode disclosed that work was at advanced stage at the parks being constructed by the State Government in Alimosho and Ikorodu, adding that the projects would soon be completed and opened for public use, promising that government would enforce tree planting along all new roads being constructed, maps well as create more gardens and ensure the upgrade of all open spaces in Lagos.
The Governor, who said government alone cannot achieve the greening policy, advocated a collective action by all relevant agencies and organizations to achieve the vision of bequeathing a greener and healthier environment to generations yet unborn.
He also urged the Federal Government to lead the campaign for each of the States of the federation to resolve to plant at least one million trees annually which will translate to 360 million trees across the country by the next decade, saying that such would go a long way to protect the nation.