Oladeinde Remilekun Ganiat
Scientifically, trees are quite strategic in combating global warming as they absorb the carbon-dioxide in the atmosphere, replenish the air with oxygen and also contribute immensely to the aesthetics of the environment. They also check erosion and stem the tide of windstorm by serving as wind breakers. On another note, trees are brilliant cleansers. They remove other pollutants through the stomates in the leaf surface. It is considered that trees act as what some call a Carbon Sink, storing the gas in its branches, trunk, leaves etc. instead of leaving the gas to become free floating and further polluting the atmosphere. In this natural function alone, trees directly reduce the growth of the Greenhouse Effect and counteract Global Warming.
Trees also serve the purpose of overall air quality enhancer, and a much needed one at that. They provide natural habitats for many small creatures, and reduce the temperature by providing shade. Thus, a tree is not just a beautiful work of nature standing amongst the many phenomenal picturesque settings of this world; it is a powerful and vital tool for human survival.
Modern science recognizes that without tree manufacturing oxygen, life on earth would have been impossible. As the world concentrates on global warming and its adverse effects on climatic changes, it is imperative that the public be more educated and enlightened on efficacy of trees. Although planting of trees has long been a suggestion to better the earth, there is a desperate need for sustained action at making it not just an annual ritual as it is being practiced in most states of the country but what everybody, especially land owners, must embrace if we are to take the decisive trend of climate change serious.
According to climate experts, human-induced global deforestation is responsible for 18-25% of global climate change. The United Nations, World Bank and other leading non-governmental organizations are therefore encouraging re-forestation and other activities that promote tree planting to mitigate the effects of climate change. Ironically, as simple as tree planting process is, only quite a few pays adequate attention to in this clime.
In Lagos state, considering the geographical nature of the state, efforts are being made by the state government to encourage tree planting. Having realized that tree planting is one of the most valuable tools available to help to provide environmental stability, the state government has concluded plans aimed at planting 10 million trees by 2020. It is, therefore, essential for the citizenry to be fully involved in this plan so that the benefits can accrue to all. Every citizenry desirous of good governance must be familiar with environmental issues because it matters a lot. This will certainly enable everyone to actively participate in the state’s environmental sustainability agenda.
Expectedly, the Lagos State Parks and Gardens Agency (LASPARK) had commenced the pruning of the branches of trees on major roads and highways while also doing same in and around public buildings of the various government establishments to prevent avoidable accidents in the case of windy rains following the impact of climate change. Established as part of efforts to achieve its goal of environmental sustainability while also tackling the multi-effects of climate change, LASPARK had continually projected its advocacy activities resulting in the planting of about 5.9 million trees across the state, while also beautifying open spaces and loops.
According to the agency’s General Manager, Mrs. Abimbola Jijoho-Ogun, “trees are the lungs of the earth and remain crucial in sustaining human life since they purify the air we breathe.” She, thus, encouraged Lagos residents to continue to plant trees to mark memorable events and reminded them to nurture the trees properly and patiently to maturity. She, however, warned that the law against indiscriminate felling of trees is a punishable crime is still in force and for every tree that must be removed; at least five others must be planted.
As we are currently in the thick of the rainy season with its attendant challenges such as windstorms and flooding, some of the long old branches of matured trees can give way and break-off, causing some harm or destroying rooftops or parked vehicles. In order to prevent such untoward occurrence, residents may decide to cut them off, but before doing such it is advisable to contact LASPARK for professional help in order to guide against preventable consequences. Lagos residents are advised to cooperate with the state government by seeking timely advice from LASPARK and other related government agencies on pruning, cutting and transplanting of trees during the rains for safety purposes.
In view of the various environmental disasters being experienced across the globe, it has become quite essential for individuals, corporate bodies, community leaders, religious bodies, NGOs and all tiers of governments to give sufficient attention to tree planting. In view of the enormous importance of trees to the quality of human life, it would be foolhardy to neglect this simple and less expensive venture that is naturally endowed with life giving aura.
Thus, the whole essence of this year’s Tree Planting Day should not be lost on Lagos residents. Consequently, conscious efforts should be made by all to take good care of both new and existing trees in our neighbourhood. When we do this, we are not only taking care of our environment, but we are also preserving our future. There are already enough calamities for the world to grapple with; we should not add avoidable environmental havocs to it.