Why should Nigeria lose its mangrove pride to lack of sustainable lifestyle and negligence of the environment, when the nation should actually benefit immensely from its services if well harnessed?
As the world commemorates the International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem, the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) is using this moment to call on all the stakeholders to rise to the issues affecting our mangroves.
Nigeria has one-third of the entire mangroves in Africa. This is the largest in the continent and the third-largest in the entire world. The Niger Delta Mangroves are estimated to provide 60% of the spawning grounds of fishes in West Africa. Mangroves absorb carbon and they determine the livelihood of the coastal dwellers. Nigerian Mangroves make up 40% of the remaining original forests in Nigeria and cover 10,500 square kilometres.
Mangrove degradation is being caused by oil pollution, firewood cutting, over-exploitation, and sand filling among other factors.
NCF and other environmental NGOs have embarked on Mangrove Restoration projects to restore Nigeria’s mangrove to at least 70% of their original states. There is an urgent need for rehabilitation for the mangrove ecosystem to be stepped up if they are to continue to render services to the country.