NiMet’s Director-General Calls for Afforestation to Improve Climate Condition
“Afforestation is a must if we are to improve on the current loss of biodiversity and enhance rainfall.”
This was the submission of the Director-General and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), Professor Sani Mashi at the launch of the Regional Centre for Excellence’s (RCE) Climate Change Convention held recently at Covenant University, Ota.
Professor Mashi, who was the Chairman at the launch, which had “Climate Change Action for Africa we Want” as its theme, was represented by his Director of Meteorological Research and Training, Professor Peter Odjugo.
In his address titled, “Climate Change, Environmental Pollution and Health Implications: the Need for Stakeholders’ Collaboration Towards a Climate-Smart Economy in Nigeria,” Professor Mashi also called for vigorous pursuance of urban forestry and greenery, as well as a change of habit in adopting a climate-smart lifestyle in building and landscaping.
“The current practice by most house owners of using interlocking tiles or concrete in their compound should be stopped to give way to green landscaping by planting flowers and economic trees which can also serve as sources of fruits and vitamins intake,” he said.
He also noted that farming in Nigeria and in most developing nations must move from the current subsistence to mechanised sustainable smart agriculture, adding that drought-resistant crops and early maturing varieties must be developed for use in the face of climate change.
The DG informed the participants that NiMet had embarked on regular weather and climate predictions to help the public mitigate the effects of extreme weather events through Early Warning Systems (EWSs), which, he said had provided useful information to farmers for increasing agricultural productivity.
“However, for these efforts to succeed in our generation, Nigerians need to become more aware of their environment. Our children, right from the cradle, should be taught the basics of a climate-smart lifestyle, environmental cleanliness, and protection. Everybody should be encouraged to ensure that plastic bags and containers are disposed of in designated places where they would easily be picked up for recycling. Students, both at the secondary and tertiary education levels, should be empowered with more information on how to choose careers that will help the society solve emerging environmental problems arising from the impacts of climate change,” he suggested.
In her Keynote address titled, “Climate Change Effects and Health Risks: Improving Indoor Air Quality for Sustainable Well Being,” Professor Janet Ademola noted that climate change may worsen existing indoor environmental problems and indoor air quality. This, she said, was determined by a number of factors including the quality of outdoor air, type, and condition of the building, furnishing and occupants’ lifestyle and habits.
She, therefore, called for deliberate measures that could be employed at household or community levels to improve indoor air quality. This included eliminating the source of pollution, ventilation improvement, avoidance of deforestation, avoidance of bush burning and overcrowding among others.
Earlier in his opening remarks, the Vice-Chancellor, Covenant, Professor AAA. Atayero decried the threat to life-sustaining activities like agriculture and marine life by climate change, which results in natural disasters which has become almost a daily occurrence. He, therefore, advised the participants not to end the convention as mere academic thoughts and discussions, but should proffer far reaching solutions.
The Ogun Regional Centre for Excellence (RCE) is one of the 20 in Africa and the seventh in Nigeria.