The Lagos State Government on Wednesday said it has planted 7.6 million trees in the last 10 years and targeted planting 50,000 trees this year.
General Manager, Lagos State Parks and Gardens Agency (LASPARK), Mrs Adetoun Popoola, disclosed this at a news conference in Ikeja, to announce this year’s tree planting day which is July 14.
She said between 2011 and now, the government had planted 7.6 million trees, but said 50,000 additional trees would be planted this year.
According to her, between January and June 2021, 4,000 trees had been planted, while in the last two years of the current administration, 24,000 trees had been planted.
However, Adetoun said the Lagos State Tree Planting Day which was established in 2008 and further established by law as a statutory responsibility of the Lagos State Parks and Gardens Agency remained a significant day for the state as it offered the opportunity to create awareness on the need to protect the environment and enhance healthy living through planting of trees.
“Over the years, the Lagos State Tree Planting Day has grown to be one of the largest platforms for environmental public outreach in Lagos State and is celebrated annually by thousands of people, groups and organisations across various sectors of the state.
“Lagos, the most populous city in Africa is also one of the most vulnerable to sea level rise and flooding. We are not immune to global warming and the various other climatic challenges experienced around the world. A computation of the Climate Change Vulnerability Index identified Lagos as one of the top 10 global cities and only city in Africa with ‘high risk’ from climate change.
“The importance of trees to the environment can therefore not be overstated. Trees influence everything – As the biggest plants on the planet, they give us oxygen, store carbon, stabilise the soil and give life to the world’s wildlife. The Lagos State Government recognizes this as represented in the Health and Environment pillar of the T.H.E.M.E.S agenda as a blueprint towards improving citizens’ health and achieving and sustainable environment,” she stated.
She said last year, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, LASPARK planted “Trees for Life” in honour of the health workers and frontline heroes, saying that the devastation that followed the COVID-19 pandemic at its peak last year and the current realities encouraged government even more to accelerate global physical environment restoration efforts.
“In fact, the United Nations having declared Years 2021 to 2030 as the Decade on Ecosystem Restoration is building a global movement to ramp up restoration efforts and put the world back on track to achieve global goals for a sustainable future as failure to care for our environment will hasten the end of the human race – tree planting is still one of the cheapest, nature-based climate solutions that will also contribute towards a lasting COVID-19 recovery; hence our theme for this year’s celebration is “Restore and Recover!”.
Adetoun disclosed that on the 14th of July as is done every year, trees would be planted simultaneously across Lagos by both private and public sector institutions.
She said there would be ceremonial tree planting events by members of the state executive at designated locations and that in addition, trees would be planted across the 57 Local Governments and Local Council Development Areas.
“We have commenced sensitization and mobilization in preparation for the exercise. Tree seedlings are already being distributed to all the state LGAs and LCDAs for this purpose. To encourage more people to plant, we will also be giving out tree seedlings free of charge to interested participants, private organisations and volunteers – N.G.Os, C.D.As and C.D.Cs. until the end of July.
“We have also designed a competition for school children, we want children between the ages of 4 and 12 to create any art form depicting their interpretation of this year’s theme: “Restore and Recover.” Participants with the best entries will be rewarded with learning resources like electronic tablets, books and other educational materials,” she stated.
She added that LASPARK would be working with some of its partners to establish mini botanical gardens in some of State’s primary and secondary schools, to give students opportunities of direct contact with nature, saying that each mini-botanical garden would consist of at least 30 varieties of economic and ornamental trees, shrubs and plants and would serve as a critical learning resource to encourage practical learning about biodiversity, ecosystems and conservation.