Nigeria – The World Environment Day is celebrated every year on fifth June to raise awareness and encourage environmental protection. The theme for 2021 World Environment Day is, “Ecosystem Restoration”.
Ecosystem restoration can take many forms. Growing trees, greening cites through planting of shrubs and flowers, rewilding gardens and change diet or cleaning up of rivers and coast through de-silting. Thus, this year, World Environment Day is to be hosted by Pakistan.
As man’s population increases, there is the fear of a proportional increase in the restoration of the ecosystem because of the constant compulsion to satisfy his needs. It is for this reason that the theme for the 2021 Environment Day celebration is relevant, if man’s existence on earth is to be sustained.
For a nation like Nigeria, where little regard has been given to Urban and Regional Planning, this year’s celebration is an opportunity to emphasize on the need for appropriate Physical Planning development in our urban and rural areas.
In Anambra State, Town Planning through the Physical Planning Board, has been contributing its own quota in the Ecosystem restoration. In its approval of building permits, 15% of the land space is mandatory for the developer to plant tree and shrubs. This is to absorb rain water and decrease the volume of run-off, which is the principle actor in soil erosion.
Town planners ensure the implementation of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Decree No 88 of 1992 over all of a mandatory development projects. This provides opportunity to remedy any distorted ecosystem as a result of new developments.
Town Planners make development plans and layout schemes among others to guide developers. They provide spaces for site and services to give comfort and convenience to the users. They also ensure proper landscaping among developers to accommodate climate change effects and ecosystem balance.
There is no doubt that through the respect for the principles and practice of urban and regional planning, man can begin to regain the sanity and sanctity of his ecosystem. We must, therefore, invigorate the growing of trees in all neighbourhoods in addition to observe town planning development rules.
They include but not limited to setbacks, building coverage and landscaping features. While joining the rest of the world to mark the 2021 World Environment Day, the Nigeria Institute of Town Planners (NITP) enjoys governments at all levels to abide by the principles and practice of Urban and Regional Planning.
They should lead in showing good examples, first in the way public buildings and facilities, as well as infrastructures are planned, before being developed. This is in order to promote Ecosystem Restoration, which is a major step towards achieving livability and sustainability of our cities and communities.
The Nigeria Institute of Town Planners, Anambra State Chapter, wishes Anambra state, Nigeria and the rest of the World Happy World Environment Day.
WRITTEN BY EMMA IFENEDEBE