The Anambra State Government has cried out to the global community over continued loss of arable land to gully erosion menace.
Dr Felix Odimegwu, the state Commissioner for Environment, made the call while unfolding the state programme for 2023 World Earth Day (WED), celebration in Awka, the state capital, on Thursday, April 20.
Odimegwu said the effort to control erosion in the state suffered a setback with pulling out of the World Bank-assisted Nigeria Erosion Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP), which had completed its 10-year mission in the state.
NEWMAP worked on 13 sites and fully delivered about eight of them with others in varying stages of completion.
“Like you all know, Anambra is the erosion capital of Africa, the challenge is humongous that the state finances cannot carry it, we are talking about 1,000 active erosion sites with new ones still emerging.
“NEWMAP has exited the state, the project barely scratched the surface of the problem with just 13 sites and about seven completely delivered, the challenge is still very much here with us.
“So we are calling for global solidarity and partnership, international funding agencies, including the European Investment Bank, to assist Anambra to save its environment.
“On our part, the government of Anambra has awarded contracts for control works in some sites, including the popular Ekwueme Square gully erosion site in Awka, all within the limits of available resources,” he said.
Odimegwu said already the state government was taking preventive measures to protect the environment such as desilting the drainages for easy flow of runoff water, planting of trees and implementation of waste management laws.
The Commissioner said Anambra would celebrate the WED with a town-hall meeting at the Dora Akunyili Women Development Centre, Awka, on Saturday.
According to him, the theme of the celebration is “Clean, Health and Sustainable Anambra” and experts in environment management issues from academia and technocrats will gather to brainstorm at the session.
“Prof. Chukwuma Soludo will be the guest of honour. We hope to have representatives of communities, civil society, youth organisations and other relevant stakeholders as we chat the way forward for environment sustainability in Anambra,” he said.
By Chimezie Anaso