Trees Are Fundamental To Wildlife And Economy - Odimegwu


Trees Are Fundamental To Wildlife And Economy - Odimegwu 

By Nkiru Nwagbo, 

Anambra State Commissioner for Environment, Engineer Felix Odimegwu has affirmed that trees are fundamental to wildlife and our economy, as every element of nature plays a crucial role in maintaining the balance of our ecosystem, but none is more vital than the tree.

The Commissioner stated this on Monday during the launching of Anambra State tree planting and urban forest action in Awka, the state capital.

According to the Commissioner, "Trees are indispensable for the survival of all living beings.Thryy are the lungs of the Earth, serving as natural air filters and essential sources of oxygen. They act as natural air conditioners, providing habitat and protection for a multitude of species, including humans.

"They provide fruits that feed humans, animals, and birds and are the primary source of raw materials for the paper and lumber industries. Additionally, they offer refuge and play areas for various creatures and enhance the beauty and value of our environment.

"Trees play a pivotal role in climate regulation. They act as carbon sinks, storing carbon dioxide in their roots, trunks, and leaves, which helps mitigate climate change. They control soil erosion, capture rainwater, manage stormwater flow, and prevent flooding. Trees also reduce noise pollution by acting as barriers between homes and industrial areas."

Engineer Odimegwu, who reiterated that trees and forests are essential in our fight against climate change, added that they improve our quality of life on both a global and local scale, and strategic planting can even help save energy.

"According to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, up to 40% of the planet’s land is degraded, directly affecting half of the world’s population and threatening global GDP. The frequency and duration of droughts have increased by 29% since 2000. Without urgent action, droughts may affect over three-quarters of the world’s population by 2050. Tree planting is a critical solution to these pressing challenges.

"Since the inception of Professor  Chukwuma Soludo’s administration, we have launched the "One House, Two Trees" campaign. This initiative mandates that every land owner plant at least two trees within his compound. The 35% green spacing initiative mandates that every land developer dedicates 35% of their land to green areas, including gardens and tree cover. The cut-one-plant-three initiative ensures replacement of every tree cut down for whichever purpose.

"The State Government distributes and plants over one million hybrid Malaysian coconut trees and oil palms seedlings annually across all 21 Local Government Areas by sustainably empowering her citizens with these seedlings to plant. We also gift trees as birthday souvenirs to important personalities to encourage personal involvement in nurturing the environment. Key reforestation projects include the Unizik Forest Reserve, Enugwu Ukwu erosion site, Ekwueme Square, and the Anambra State House of Assembly.

"Recently, the Federal Government planted 3,000 oil palms on erosion-prone sites in Nibo Awka as phytocontrol bioremediation measure to check erosion. The launch of greening projects at Amazon Estates being developed by Senatorch and others further buttresses the deliberate intention of Anambra State Government to make Anambra a Green State. 

"We are committed to enhancing the ecological and climate resilience of Anambra. By launching this tree planting and urban forestation initiative, we aim to revive eroded lands and beautify our environment. We have designated June 10th as Anambra Tree Planting Day, which is included in the environmental bill before the House of Assembly. Our vision is to see Anambra’s streets, roads, and highways adorned with trees, creating a green canopy.

"Today, we will plant 200 trees: 100 Strep trees, 50 Tujar, 50 Queen Palms, and 50 Asoka trees. The planting will start from Revenue House to Book Foundation and will extend to Onitsha and other towns over time," the Commissioner said.

He added that according to a Chinese proverb, “The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.” Trees are our lifelines, and without them, our world would become barren and lifeless.

Odimegwu,  who urged Nigerians to plant a tree today, also called  on Anambrarians to  participate in the greening journey to transform Anambra State with nature as gold is a luxury; trees are necessities; man can live without gold, but we cannot survive without trees.

Speaking at the occasion, the wife of the Anambra State Governor, Mrs Nonye Soludo said, "Today's event is as significant as our vision for clean, green, and livable Anambra State. Trees are a special part of our environment. They are our future. If you cut down one tree, plant three. Each tree we plant takes us closer to a sustainable environment. 

"We began the green revolution a long time ago in Anambra State. Today, we have taken a bolder step to protecting our future. Join us in this life-changing initiative. Sow a seed for the future. Plant a tree today."

In their joint contribution, the commissioner for Industry, Mr. Christian Udechukwu and Commissioner for Youth Development, Mr. Patrick Agha Mba, lauded the developmental strides by the Soludo administration in agriculture and environmental management, noting that the initiative is expected to mobilize thousands of volunteers, including students, to participate in planting and caring for the trees. 

 The Managing Director of Anambra State Waste Management Authority (ASWMA), Sir Mike Ozoemena, and Chairman of the Anambra Urban Regeneration Council, Architect Michael Okonkwo, emphasized that the initiative is about securing a greener future for future generations.

On her part, the acting Vice Chancellor of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, COOU, Prof. Kate Omenugha, pledged her support to ensure the success of the tree planting campaign and urged Nigerians to join in campaign regardless of the harsh economy as he who plants a tree, plants hope.



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