The Lagos State Government over the weekend expressed its determination to assist in reducing the decline of wetlands and biodiversity conservation in the state which has been brought about by indiscriminate destruction of natural wetlands for housing/industrial developments owing to increasing population and technological advancement.
The State’s position was espoused by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of The Environment, Abiodun Bamgboye at a press briefing to herald the commencement of the 2019 Youth Outreach Ecotourism Programme on Wetland and Biodiversity Conservation for students in Lagos State Secondary Schools.
The programme will have 14 students participating made up of two representing each of the six educational districts and two representing private and missionary schools over a period of eight days transversing various wetland locations and other conservation sites in the state and were chosen after a very rigorous screening exercise.
Bamgboye said that this year’s theme: “Our Biodiversity, Our Food, Our Health’’ is targeted to educate the general public about human values towards a sustainable environment and bring about a situation in which people live in harmony with nature.
“It is targeted at creating awareness on the diversity provided by the natural Eco-systems for human existence and well-being on Earth, while contributing to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, such as zero hunger, good health and well-being, no poverty as well as climate change mitigation and adaptation, ecosystems restoration, cleaner water and amongst others” , he stated.
The Permanent Secretary stated that the Programme was holding successfully for the fourth consecutive year because of government’s belief in the ability of students as change agents and is being organized with the primary aim of expanding the knowledge and changing the mindset of the general public about conventional tourism, especially in relation to the environment.
Bamgboye stressed that this tour in the last four years, had clearly shown the commitment of the Lagos State Government to environmental sustainability by bringing together sustainable travel practices that promote the conservation and protection of wetlands.
He said that having realised the capacity of young ones to communicate and bring about change, the State was educating the young ones, who are leaders of tomorrow, to embrace the correct and sustainable use of God-given environmental resources and spread the message to others.
Also speaking, the Director Environmental Management Department, Sheriff Savage pointed out that the participating students, who were selected through a rigorous process from the five education districts in the State, would be proceeding on eight days of learning and fun as they will have the opportunity to visit various pristine and fragile ecosystems, zoological gardens and conservation centres across the five divisions of Lagos State.
These visit according to him will afford the students the opportunity to get acquainted with the abundant wetlands resources and biodiversity of the State and assured parents of the participating students that adequate security had been put in place for their safety while in the camp
He enjoined Lagosians to commit themselves to a lifestyle that encouraged environmentally friendly options and embraced the attitude of visiting eco-tourism sites for relaxation and knowledge of the environment, stressing that the future generation would not forgive us if we failed to protect the environment.