By Gabriel OKECHUKWU
Restoration of the ecosystem has been identified as very vital for a healthy environment for Niger Delta region and the nation as a whole.
The Interim Administrator, Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Mr. Efiong Akwa made this known at NDDC Headquarters, Marine base Port Harcourt, Rivers State, during an event to mark Environment Day, by the Commission .
Ecosystems are destroyed by such activities as land clearing, urbanization, coastal erosion, and mining.
The destruction of the ecosystem may be atmospheric, terrestrial and aquatic.
In the Niger Delta Region for instance, oil exploration, bunkering activities and indiscriminate dumping of waste contribute immensely to the degradation of the ecosystem.
whenever there is oil spill, the farm lands as well as water bodies are badly affected in addition to gas flaring in the Niger Delta region all contributing to environmental damage.
Speaking in an event to mark the Environment Day, the Interim Administrator, Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Efiong Akwa emphasized the importance of creating awareness on the restoration of the ecosystem.
Mr. Akwa who was represented by the Director, Environment Protection and Control, NDDC, Mr. Onuoha Obeka noted that tree planting exercise embarked upon by the interventionist agency was part of the commission’s contribution in the restoration of the ecosystem.
“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.”
“planting trees is deliberate. We are leading this campaign to ensure that we halt the degradation of our ecosystem”
While speaking on the preservation of different species of trees, the guest speaker, Dr. UZOMA Chima explained that trees play very important roles in in the restoration of the ecosystem.
According Dr. Chima who is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Forest and Wildlife Management, University of Port Harcourt, trees are helpful in climate change adaptation, erosion control and prevention among others.
” trees can also be used in the restoration of degraded agro-ecosystems, they do that through two different processes, one is deep nutrient capture and recycling and nitrogen fixation”
And that is why, somebody us in environmental conservation are advocating the integration of trees in agro-ecosystems”
on his part, the Lead consultant, Mr. Justin Akankali who stressed that the environment is a gift from nature and should be preserved, added that the staff of the commission needed to be informed about ecosystem restoration.
Mr. Akankali expressed displeasure over the level of environmental pollution in the Niger Delta region causeed by human activities.
He called for collaboration between the Federal and State government to tackle the challenge.
“this is one of the in-house enlightenment mechanism “
We felt that NDDC staff as a matter of priority should first of all be sensitized about the issues of environmental restoration”
High points of the occasion were symbolic tree planting, aquatic marine litter clean up at Port Harcourt Tourist Beach and donation of waste collection and disposal tools to the management of the Beach .