A Cross River State-based environmentalist, Chief Edwin Ogar, has called on the federal government of Nigeria to come out with a law regulating the number of children couples can have so as to check deforestation in the country.
The environmentalist said this call has become necessary considering the massive destruction of the forest today by mankind, adding that, if nothing drastic is done, generations unborn will have no conducive environment to live in.
Delivering a special talk on “environment and generation unborn” at a forest enlightenment campaign programme in Akamkpa, Cross River State recently, he said, “We have destroyed the forest to the extent that the effect is now on us and that is climate change. The future of our children, children is threatened and that is why it is essential for us to protect the forest. There is need for me to pass this message to you to help educate one another on the need to protect the environment so that we can guarantee the future of our children’s lives today and not the one trouble, wastage, new and old diseases that are so destructive will reign”.
Chief Ogar, who is the Programme Coordinator of Wise Administration of Terrestrial Environment and Recourses (WATER), said, “God in its infinite wisdom created the world and created the trees to serve as absorbers of carbon dioxide. Nigeria was a little country with a little population but now we have grown well over 170 million people and all of us are emitting carbon in different ways and it is only the trees that take the carbon and give us oxygen yet we keep destroying the trees and the carbon is becoming excess in the atmosphere, the forest no longer there and the result is the climate change we are suffering from.
“In one aspect, we fall down the trees, burn them and some trees are over 1,000 years and the destroyed trees that have stored carbon for over the years are now released into the atmosphere and the trees are no longer there. The ones that were as big as a large circle are gone and the few trees that are there can longer absorb the carbon and the excess carbon now contribute to climate change that is affecting all of us.
“It is dangerous we celebrate for ourselves today and let our children and generations unborn have a bleak life and it is an irresponsible father or parents can afford to that. If we love our children we must love the forest with all its bio diversity. Let the forest continue to be there for our children and generations unborn.”
Besides the direct activities of man cutting down the forest, he stated that Industrialisation is another key factor affecting the environment as “we know what is happening in Nigeria today as a result of gas flaring and even the few industries here send out so much carbon into the atmosphere, and the only solution is the forest to absorb the carbon and now the forest is gone and we are celebrating millennium development goals, now its social development goals.
“It is not going to work unless we begin to do something that is very practical to change the way things are then we will guarantee the future generation a sustainable life as God created the world. So we need to go back to the drawing board and allow the forest to survive and not everyday we continue to cut down the forest.
“We should keep the forest standing and regenerate it as well. We should exercise limit in the production of children because what we are seeing in Nigeria today is as a result of the production of children. When you have plenty children they have to encroach and plant in the forest.
“We need government legislation on this because if we have a meaningful number of children, then there is little they can do to harm the forest. We need to also do what is called sustainable or intensive agriculture by continuing to plant in one place as it is done in advance countries so as to reduce the pressure on the forest.”
By Tina Todo, Calabar