The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has charged environmentalists, community leaders and other stakeholders to continue to push for actions and legislations which promote best practices that would engender innovative solutions to poor waste management and ensure the preservation of the country’s biodiversity amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Governor Obaseki made the call in commemoration of the World Environment Day marked on June 5, each year, by the United Nations and its partners.
He noted that all hands must be on deck in the effort to safeguard the environment and preserve humanity, adding that the destruction of man’s natural habitat was paving the way for emerging infectious diseases like COVID-19.
Obaseki described the theme for the 2020 celebration, ‘Biodiversity’ as germane, noting that it was necessary to seek out solutions to infectious diseases in nature, as there exists much more secrets that are yet to be unraveled, especially in the face of the current pandemic.
According to him, “On this day, it is imperative to stress the need to conserve nature and preserve the defining features of our pristine flora and fauna, amid the coronavirus pandemic. Human actions, including deforestation, encroachment on wildlife habitats, incessant waste disposal, and acceleration of climate change, have pushed nature beyond its limit. However, we need to work collectively to stop the already accelerating biodiversity loss and preserve our environment. These efforts will not only protect humanity but avert the collapse of food and health systems.”
The governor assured that his administration would continue to prioritise the protection of the environment through conscious policies and programmes, adding, “We are resolute about restoring sanity to the sector to ensure we have an environment we all will be proud of, and which will outlive us.”
According to the United Nations, “The emergence of COVID-19 has underscored the fact that, when we destroy biodiversity, we destroy the system that supports human life. Today, it is estimated that, globally, about one billion cases of illness and millions of deaths occur every year from diseases caused by coronaviruses; and about 75 per cent of all emerging infectious diseases in humans are zoonotic, meaning that they are transmitted to people by animals.”