(OPINION) Osun: Adeleke’s Smart Way Of Fighting For The Survival Our Environment By Sarafa Ibrahin

Every now and then, we are treated to the devastating impact of climate change on our environment. If it is not flood washing away homes and cities, it is the extreme weather conditions, such as heat waves and drought that alerts us to the danger facing our planet.

But the question we have mostly failed to ask ourselves is, what can we do to save our environment from these unmitigated disasters. Well, this is something that the Osun state government under the leadership of His Excellency Governor Ademola Adeleke attempted on Monday at the World Environment Day when it unveiled a daring climate policy for the state.

While many government, especially at the state level have refused to recognize the threat posed by the increasing change in our climate, Governor Adeleke is taking the bold step of not only accepting the reality of the situation, but also putting in place mechanism to confront the challenge posed. But to achieve the desirable objective, it needs more than just government’s commitment but that of the people as well. That is to say, what we really need is attitudinal change to our environment.

That attitudinal change can only be orchestrated by a mass sensitization of the devastating impact of our pollutions on the environment and mobilize efforts to reduce to the bearest minimum the exposure of Osun state to climate crisis, which was exactly what Governor Adeleke apparently set out to achieve with his climate agenda.

While Osun state contribute next to nothing to the carbon dioxide pollution that is mainly attributed for the increasing damage to our environment, there is also this problem of plastic pollution to worry about. Pollution in waterways continue to build up at a disturbing level, with trashes continue to release toxic items into waters that serves the population.

This expectedly explained the alarm of the governor at the disturbing release of “eight million tonnes of plastic wastes into the ocean every year”, which he pointedly warned poses not just threat to our environment but an “increasing health risk onto human as monoplastic with harmful toxins are finding their ways into our food and water.”

What do we do to change this discomforting tide? The answer isn’t far-fetched– controlling plastic population among other plans already set out by Governor Adeleke. “Our ambition is to be a leading sub-national entity within Nigeria in the fight against plastic pollution as much as in the general climate agenda,” the governor noted in a speech read by the Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Teslim Igbalaye, at the event.

And yes, scaling down the exposure of the state to plastic pollution, won’t be that easy. But one thing is however sure– Governor Adeleke is not ready to just watch by while things go really bad. To do so will be a too much cost for us to bear. This is because replacing homes and businesses wrecked by flood, combating health challenges that arises from polluted water, and coping with extremely hotter environment won’t come cheaply.

This leaves us with the one choice, and that is what Governor Adeleke is proposing– fight to preserve our environment. We could start by keying into the governor’s bold plan of drastically reducing plastic pollution in our environment. In other words, removing plastics around us and safely disposing them to prevent them from adding to the climate crisis.

Impressive enough, the Adeleke administration already activated the ‘Imole Clean Initiative’, which will focus on cleaning our environment from plastic waste. From July, the initiative will provide every schools in Osun state with waste bags to dispose plastic wastes and remove them from the environment in line with the governor’s agenda. The initiative will also extend to homes across the state in the mission to rid the state of plastic pollution.

But that is not. In his presentation, Mallam Olawale Rasheed, the Chairman of the Chairman of the Climate and Renewable Energy Advisory Council, underscored the agenda of Governor Adeleke on climate change as an unprecedented step by a sub-national entity in Nigeria. Outlining the action areas and the state’s policy actions among other in the fight against climate change, Mallam Rasheed explained that the objective of Governor Adeleke’s agenda on climate change “are to reduce risk and vulnerability to climate change, strengthen resilience, enhance well-being and the capacity to anticipate, and respond successfully to change.”

The long and short of this is that, Governor Adeleke is putting everything to make sure that we do not have to lose our environment to the devastating impact of climate change. So, let’s start playing our own part in bringing about an environment that is not only safe but also promotes healthy living. This is the focus of Governor Adeleke through his administration’s climate agenda, and it is on our interests to give it all the needed supports to achieve objectives.

  • Sarafa Ibrahim is a Special Assistant to Governor Ademola Adeleke on Print Media. He writes from Osogbo, Osun State.

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