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By Hafiz Bello

Climate change can be described as a long term shift in weather patterns and temperatures, which can be natural or induced by human activities. In recent times human activities to survive on earth have been observed to be the main cause of climate change. Human activities that drive climate change include burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas to generate energy to power our industries, cars and generate domestic energies for cooking and heating. Burning these fuels for our various activities generate greenhouse gas that wraps around the earth in a manner that can be described as a blanket trapping the sun’s heat and thereby causing a rise in temperature, examples of these greenhouse gas are Carbon dioxide and Methane. Carbondioxide is one of the greenhouse gas that are by products of burning fossil fuels from our industries and automobiles, land clearing and removal of forest covers. Methane gas is generated mostly from landfills and from animal waste from animal farms. Generally large contributors to the emission of these gases are from industries, transport sectors, mining sectors, and agricultural sectors.

The rise in the emission of these gases over time has made the earth warmer than it was recorded in past centuries. The earth has been said to be warmer and about 1.10C warmer than in the 18 century and is quite warmer than ever recorded between 2011 and 2020. The consequence of climate change is now felt globally in different aspects of life. Sea level rise, salt intrusion, Excessive droughts, high temperature, melting of Polar Regions, and destruction of bio-diversity are all results of climate change which are now great concern to all. Climate change is now affecting our capacity to produce food in many regions especially in dry lands and this can lead to famine and general food insecurity in vulnerable regions of the world. Scarcity of resources such as water is now of great concern which is acommon problem faced by farmers and animal herders and in some regions has led to conflicts as a result of clash of interest between the two users.

In view of the problems caused by climate change which if not controlled will continue to rise, it is our collective role to contribute in our various capacities to help combat the climate change phenomenon. Since it is now very clear that our day to day activities to survive on earth are a great contributor to climate change there is a need to review our activities. We need to go greener in our energy source, a cut down in our energy generation from fossil fuel is needed, more of solar and wind energy should be used in place of fossil. To cut down carbon emission from cars we need to encourage walking and use of bicycle in shorter distances in place of regular use of private cars. Authorities should also develop a good transport and road system that can encourage the use of rail and commercial transport in place of use of individual cars thereby reducing carbon emissions from cars. The production and use of energy saving appliances should be encouraged. Let’s use energy saving LEDs instead of high energy consuming incandescent lights and ensure we switch off lights when we leave a room to save energy. The use of non-polluting stoves should be encouraged while kerosene, fire wood and other fuel wood energy sources should be discouraged. Greener source of energy for cooking in rural areas should be invested into by the relevant authorities to curb the use of fuel wood in these areas. The use of disposable plastic bags, utensils and napkins should be replaced with re-useable ones. Natural substances should be used in place of toxic materials in homes, schools, and offices. . Land clearing in agriculture has been known to remove forest covers that play vital role in reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, therefore improved techniques should be encouraged which will involve crops with high yield on small land size. Techniques like hydroponics and aeroponics should be highly encouraged to reduce the need for clearing land and removal of forest cover in crop production                  

A great Campaign should be made for tree planting and forest conservation in every parts of the world by not only government and non- governmental organizations but everyone because we are all included in the struggle for a safe earth.  Urban and regional planning agencies should put into considerationestablishment of Green belts and zones made up of trees in deferent areas in city centers, towns, industrial areas, villages and other areas where possible in there master plan.  Tree planting are important in the fight against climate change, they are needed to purify the air by mopping out carbon dioxide from the atmosphere replacing them with oxygen so therefore there should be a continuous project of tree planting across the globe. Countries should have legislations that will make it compulsory for each household to plant a tree in there compounds, legislations like this will increase the tree population globally and help in the fight against climate change.

Hafiz Babatunde Bello
(Environmental scientists, )
Area of interest in Agricultural development, climate change, land and natural resources management

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Health & Wellbeing

International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict: The Need for Peace

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Wars and armed conflict are always assessed in terms of how they affect human lives, livelihoods and extent to which cities or other settlements are destroyed. Records of deaths and cities destroyed are always available and used as yardsticks to determine the extent of war in troubled zones. During war and armed conflicts, the environment is always a victim but not usually classified as a victim of war. During wars and armed conflicts, our environment is usually degraded heavily. Our Forests are usually destroyed, creating a huge distortion in the biodiversity of such areas. They are depleted by bombings and chemicals lunched to displace or gain access to opponent’s territories. Removal of these forest covers add to the existing problems of climate change threatening humanity. Rivers, wells, municipal water supply and many other water bodies are often polluted by chemicals in missiles and other explosives creating hydrological imbalance and loss of biodiversity in the marine ecosystem. Pollution to the environment during wars often comes from chemicals of explosives, radioactive materials, toxic materials and fuels used in powering war vehicles. Loss of fertile lands to war and conflict is a big cause of food insecurity and destruction of means of livelihood in troubled regions. Toxic gases and other dangerous particles occupy the atmosphere changing its composition and thereby affecting the lives of plants and animals in the area. Burnings from explosions and combustion of fuels used in war vehicles contribute to the supply of greenhouse gasses like Carbon dioxide which contributes to global warming issue.

Generally speaking, wars and armed conflicts are great disasters to the balance of the ecosystem and humanity at large and therefore the need for global peace cannot be over emphasized. The truth we must tell ourselves is that war and armed conflicts have done so much harm to our environment than what we plan to achieve from the war. The need to embrace dialogue as a means of conflict resolution is not only important to human existence but to our environment for a genuine and long lasting peace. To achieve the sustainable development goals, wars and armed conflicts must stand down as a means of settling any dispute either locally or internationally. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) found that 40 percent of all internal conflicts have links to exploitation of natural resources like solid minerals, fossil fuels, agricultural resources like fertile land, water and many others. This was observed to have been occurring for over the last 60 years according to UNEP. In view of these issues the United Nations General Assembly on the 5th of November 2001, declared 6 November of each year as The International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict (A/RES/56/4). Further on this, the UN environment assembly on the 27th of May 2016, adopted resolution UNEP/EA.2/Res.15 which recognized the role of a healthy ecosystems and sustainably managed resources in reducing the risk of armed conflict and reaffirmed its strong drive to the full implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

To achieve a sustainable environment that will supply our needs we need to act fast to stop the devastating effect of war and armed conflict on our environment. Internal or external disputes should be best settled with dialogue. International and regional bodies should be fast enough to interfere in disputes either within or across borders before it degenerates into war. However, as we campaign against war and armed conflicts there is need to manage our natural resources in a manner that will prevent struggles associated with resource use and control. A suitable ecosystem that will bring peace is one which resources are available for everyone without any cause for struggle or conflict.

Hafiz Babatunde Bello
(Environmental scientists, )
Area of interest in Agricultural development, climate change, land and natural resources management

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Health & Wellbeing

SANWO-OLU LAUNCHES NUTRITION SCHEME TO CURB COGNITIVE DISABILITIES IN NEWBORNS

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•Lagos to Support 5,000 Indigent Mothers in M.I.C.H Initiative

 

Lagos State has launched a comprehensive nutrition programmes to tackle cognitive and learning disabilities in newborns. Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Wednesday, rolled out the Mother, Infant and Child (M.I.C.H.) Initiative to address nutritional needs of pregnant women across the 57 Local Government Areas (LGAs) and Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs).

 

The scheme aims to raise the level of care for expectant mothers in underserved communities throughout their pregnancy periods. It is also to support development of infants’ brains from foetus to neonatal stage, especially in the first 2,000 days said to be significant in a child’s formative stage.

 

The health initiative is a key component of the Womb To School Programme – a basket of social investments initiated by the Sanwo-Olu administration to facilitate human capital development and to raise socially responsible citizens from the womb through infancy, childhood, and into adulthood.

 

Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, Head of Service, Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola, First Lady, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu and, Deputy Governor’s wife, Mrs. Oluremi Hamzat, attended the event held at the Government Secretariat in Alausa.

 

Office of the Civic Engagement coordinates the M.I.C.H. project.

 

Before the initiative was fully launched, the pilot phase was rolled out in 11 councils, with the State Government providing nutritional foods and supplements for 3,000 indigent pregnant women.

 

Sanwo-Olu said the Government realised the roles of women in the socio-economic development of the State, thereby taking the proactive step to improve maternal and child condition. The programme, he added, would also protect the rights of our women and children.

 

He said: “The M.I.C.H. Initiative that is being launched today is not just an integral part of our plan to improve maternal and child condition, but it also speaks of our desire to protect the wellbeing and rights of our women and children in Lagos. We will be reaching out to indigent pregnant women and cater for their care during the period of their pregnancy in order to ensure safe delivery, healthy mother and child.

 

“Our target is to reach 5,000 underprivileged pregnant women who will be selected by doctors and specialists in each primary healthcare centre across the State to access the M.I.C.H food packs that contain recommended daily nutritional composition of protein, carbohydrate, lactose, milk fat, fibre, calcium, folic acid and multi-vitamins.”

 

To access the programme, Sanwo-Olu said selected beneficiaries would be issued approved M.I.C.H. Collection Cards individually for the Government to monitor the distribution of nutrient-filled supplements on a weekly basis.

 

The Governor said the initiative would take off in flagship health centres in areas that include Ikeja, Badagry, Epe, Ikorodu, Agege, Lagos-Island, Eti-Osa, Alimosho, Somolu, Kosofe and Ibeju.

 

The benefitting pregnant women, he added, would also receive quality care and follow-up through home visits by a dedicated team of public and state-approved private community health workers and medical consultants.

 

Aside the State Government’s investment in fully-equipped Maternal and Child Centres (MCCs) in the last two years, Sanwo-Olu said the MICH Initiative was conceived to protect infants from preventable impairment in neurological and physical development.

 

“We are convinced that there is no better time than now to leverage advanced technology, modern equipment and well-trained health staff to put an end to preventable maternal mortality and disabilities in infants. The process of bringing life into existence should no longer lead to the loss of another life; this is why we are initiating policies and investing in the Mother and Child Sector to ensure that we drastically reduce and eliminate maternal mortality in Lagos,” the Governor said.

 

Special Adviser to the Governor on Civic Engagement, Princess Aderemi Adebowale, explained that the beneficiaries would go through four stages of care, stressing that expectant mothers would have access to weekly supply of balanced diet.

 

She said: “Our objective is to ensure that the programme continues to provide free care and supplement packs for underprivileged pregnant women throughout pregnancy. This would prevent malnutrition and save the foetus from deficiencies that cause stunted growth.”

 

Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, said nutritious diets remained essential supplements required by an expectant mother during pregnancy, stressing that a nutrient deficient infant would go through irregular brain development. This, he said, may limit the child’s ability in adulthood.

 

Sanwo-Olu launched the M.I.C.H. Initiative in a swarm of nursing mothers who benefitted from the pilot phase of the programme.

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