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Why climate change should be a priority in Nigeria – Environmentalist

A professional environmentalist and founder of Plogging Nigeria Club, Mayokun Iyaomolere, has explained why climate change should be a priority in Nigeria and urged policymakers to do more.

Mayokun believed that enough was not being done to tackle climate change in Nigeria.

In an interview with The PUNCH, the environmentalist decried the effects of climate change around the world and pointed out that Nigeria should be more concerned because the country lacked the system and structures to cope with the impacts of climate change.

When asked if climate change should be a major concern in Nigeria compared to other parts of the world, Mayokun responded that Nigeria should be more concerned than any other part of the world.

In his words, “Nigeria is experiencing climate change impacts, maybe more than, maybe also not as much as some other parts of the world. But the negative impacts of it are very evident in many parts of our country. So, a big yes! We must be concerned about it even much more than many other parts of the world.”

“In Nigeria, our concern should be much higher because we don’t have the systems and structures to cope with climate change impacts like some other countries.

“Hence, our need to be very proactive to mitigate climate change as much as possible and also set up adaptation measures in areas where we already feel the impact.

“We must begin to put preventive measures in place rather than corrective measures whether to reduce our national contribution to climate change or the effects we feel from contributions from other countries,” he added.

Through his Plogging Nigeria Club, with over 1300 members spread across 24 campuses and communities in Nigeria, Mayokun pointed out how he had been at the forefront of organizing children, youths and adults to promote the culture of responsible waste handling.

He believed that climate change could also be tackled from the lens of waste management.

“There’s data from a recent report of the Nationally Determined Contributions’ document that the waste sector in Nigeria contributes about nine percent to emissions that lead to climate change.

“So, we’re working in our ways to reduce these numbers by modeling to people how to manage their wastes more sustainably. We do this through our plogging (jogging and picking litter) episodes, we’ve had about 340 of those around Nigeria in the last 4 years.

“We also have a Green Switch Academy where we teach people environmental sustainability concepts, eco-consciousness, and practical waste handling skills. We’ve had 14 of those and have trained 874 young people from Nigeria and some other African and European countries.

“We also have Upcycling and Recycling initiatives all for better management of wastes,” he told our correspondent.

Mayokun concluded that humans should conserve, preserve and protect the environment in all ways possible.

He said, “if you’re reading this, look at everything you’re putting on and around you, they’re made from resources extracted from the environment. Now, think of how this same environment is also providing for 7.8 billion people around the world.

“The least we should do, as humans, is to conserve, preserve and protect this environment in all ways possible. The Earth can survive without us humans, but we definitely cannot survive without her.”

The Nigerian government had recently put in place a Climate Change Act (2021) to provide for the mainstreaming of climate change actions and to establish the National Council on Climate Change.

In 2021, President Muhammadu Buhari was also at the Conference of the Parties, 26, a United Nations’ Annual Climate Change Conference, where he promised that Nigeria would be targeting 2060 for net-zero carbon emission. This, however, differed from cutting carbon emissions by the year 2050 which was promised by other nations.

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