The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, Mrs Belinda Odeneye, made the statement during the Walk for Nature in Lagos.
The Walk for Nature was hosted by the LASG in collaboration with the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF).
The Walk for Nature with the theme: ‘Conserve Biodiversity Sustain Humanity’ being the 14th edition was held simultaneously in Ikeja, Surulere and Obalende.
According to the permanent secretary, the programme is aimed at raising awareness on environmental issues by demonstrating the importance of nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.
“Humanity and nature have evolved together for thousands of years, creating unique and interdependent cultures and landscapes.
“Indigenous people and local communities are the primary custodians of much of the world’s most valuable remaining forests, grassland, savannah, wetlands, and oceans.
“In failing to recognise indigenous people and local communities, we weaken our planet’s resilience and reduce our ability to deliver well-being and prosperity for all.
“Our cravings for developmental changes, plastic production and consumption, illegal trade in endangered species have caused great harm to nature and biodiversity and as such there is the need for us to restore these priced resources,” she said.
Odeneye, who said that conserving biodiversity to sustain humanity was very essential, added that biodiversity was essential to human health, wellbeing and prosperity.
“Biodiversity supports the provision of ecosystem services such as: food, fresh water, fuel wood, fibre, biochemical and ecotourism which are central to economic activities,” she said.
She said that the state was developing a sector policy on wetland and biodiversity to ensure balanced development, where the cause of nature would be adequately mainstreamed into the state’s development planning.
“Furthermore, the state through its plastic recycling programme is addressing the issue of plastic waste pollution that is negatively affecting aquatic wildlife and causing environmental degradation,” she said.
The Director, Technical Programme, NCF, Dr Joseph Onoja, while speaking with journalists, said that the walk was to create an awareness for everyone to know how they impact the environment.
“This is also aimed at ensuring we all play our parts so that our actions or inaction does not harm the environment which in turn will harm us.
“If we don’t conserve biodiversity, then humanity will be in danger,” he said.
He appealed to everyone to stop killing some animals, adding that they were important to humanity.
“A typical example is the owl, this kind of animal helps to control the population of rats in our homes.
“Another example is the vulture, this helps protect us from diseases, they clean up diets around before these dirts come to human population and cause diseases,” he said.
He added that the government had also been supportive, while adding that they could still do more.
Lagos state warns of the dangers of Illegal trade in endangered species