NCF warns against post COVID-19 agenda without environmental scrutiny

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THE Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) has advised that debates on the environment should be factored into the nation’s agenda for post-COVID-19.

The Foundation’s Technical Programmes Director, Dr Joseph Onoja, in a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday stated that any post-COVID-19 recovery plans that did not factor in environmental considerations might not have much impact.

Onoja noted in the statement issued by Head, Communications, Mr Oladapo Soneye that the environment served as a shock-absorber for many, especially the rural inhabitants who were already the most vulnerable to climate change.

He stated: “The post-COVID-19 recovery plans and strategies should be seen as an opportunity to tackle not only the immediate effect of the pandemic but the impact of climate change that had been hanging over them before the COVID-19 era.’’

The NCF boss said government at all levels had to ensure that policies that would promote nature conservation were put in place.

Joseph Onoja NCF boss

He said that corporate organisations had to support nature conservation because the environment was the number one factor of production without which these organisations would not be able to produce or offer whatever service they had to offer.

“Communities and individuals also play vital roles as direct custodians of these wildlife by ensuring that their activities and actions do not impact wildlife negatively,’’ he said.

Onoja said that nature had created a delicate balance where wildlife played a critical role to the overall conducive living of mankind in the world.

“For instance, a Pangolin consumes over 70 million ants and termites in one year, saving a forest as large as 31 soccer fields. Imagine what will happen to mankind if 70 million ants and termites are unleashed on us.

“The critical role vultures play in ensuring that diseases do not spread by them cleaning up carcasses before they develop spores that will transmit infections such as Cholera, Botulism, etc.

“Or imagine how we will get our food if the incredible pollinators, bees disappear from nature.”

On strategies to curb the spread of virus on nature conservation and biosafety, Onoja commended the government for banning the handling of wildlife and closing down illegal wildlife markets, adding that the lockdown had tremendous impact on the environment.

“The level of air pollution has drastically reduced and the restricted movements is making wildlife reclaim areas where they were absent for a long time,’’ the NCF boss said.

According to him, “2020 has been termed the ‘Super Year for Nature’. It gives us an opportunity to pause and have a rethink of how we have been relating with nature, which invariably has impact on people.”

He said there must be a paradigm shift where instead of humans looking at ourselves as apart from nature, they would see themselves as a part of nature.

“This will help us know that whatever happens to nature and our life support system, we will be the first to be impacted and heavily.

“Humans, anatomically and physiologically are the least equipped to live on earth and the earlier we realise that the safer it will be for us.

“We do not have furs to cover our bare skin, no claws and no tails; So, if we do not protect nature to protect us, nature will protect itself but at our detriment.

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