World Wetland Day: HYPREP seeks collaboration on mangrove restoration
By Nelson Chidiebere, Port Harcourt
The Project Coordinating Office of the Hydrocarbon Pollution and Remediation Project (HYPREP) has called on the government at all levels, including civil society, businesses, communities, and the public to start adopting sustainable practices that will restore and preserve the ecosystem.
HYPREP Project Coordinator, Professor Nenibarini Zabbey in a statement to Commemorate World Wetlands Day tagged: Wetlands and Human Well-being decried the indiscriminate destruction of wetlands for urbanisation.
Zabbey noted that this year’s theme recognizes wetlands as critical to all facets of human well-being, including psychological, mental, social, and spiritual.
He noted that wetlands, including mangroves, lagoons, creeks, ponds, rivers, and associated seasonal water bodies, sustain life, foster biodiversity, and ensure the health and prosperity of our communities through their regulatory, provisioning, protecting, replenishing, and sustaining functions.
He regretted that despite their invaluable contributions, wetlands face numerous threats, causing deforestation and the impact of climate change.
The Project Coordinator pointed out that over 4000 hectares of mangroves have been destroyed by decades of oil spills in the Ogoni area of the Niger Delta alone, saying this has exacerbated poverty, as traditional livelihoods dependent on healthy mangroves are destroyed.
Also, he noted that the degradation of the ecosystem poses risks to biodiversity and compromises the well-being of communities that depend on wetlands for survival.
He, however, stated that the HYPREP has taken on the bold responsibility to restore hectares of shoreline and mangrove ecosystems in the Ogoni area of the Niger Delta that have been degraded by man-influenced activities.
According to him, HYPREP had undertaken a Preliminary Shoreline Clean-up Assessment of over 3000 ha of shoreline, it has conducted a chemical characterization of oil levels in the sediment and delineated the 3000 ha of the assessed shoreline into 833 grids.
However, he called all stakeholders to work together to implement sustainable practices that protect and restore these vital ecosystems for the benefit of current and future generations, reassuring HYPREP’s commitment to raising awareness about the significance of wetlands and advocating for their protection.
“We call upon the government at all levels, civil society, businesses, communities, and the public to join hands in preserving these critical ecosystems. Our collective efforts can contribute to achieving sustainable development goals, particularly those related to clean water and life on land and underwater, as well as climate action.
“This World Wetlands Day, HYPREP encourages individuals and communities to engage in activities that promote wetland conservation, such as clean-up drives, educational programmes, and tree-planting initiatives.
“By working together, we can ensure that wetlands continue to thrive for the benefit of current and future generations. We therefore urge you to appreciate the beauty and importance of wetlands and pledge to be stewards of these vital ecosystems.
“We can create a sustainable future by prioritizing our environment’s well-being and our communities’ prosperity”, he said.