Environmentalist harps on tree planting to reduce carbon footprints

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An environmentalist, Mr Gafar Odubote, has harped on the necessity of tree planting to reduce carbon footprints in the atmosphere.

Odubote, the Global Head of Social Media at Let’s Do it World (LDIW), a  Non-Governmental Organisation(NGO) with interest in the environment , said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Lagos.

The environmentalist said  that this would help to protect the depleting ozone layer as a result of increasing greenhouse  gases.

A carbon footprint is the total gas (GHG) emissions caused by an individual,  an event , and organisation or a product expressed as carbon dioxide equivalent.

He said, “Planting trees will go along way in offsetting carbon emissions and it is one of the easiest and cheapest remedies to carbon footprint.

“According to statistics, 40 billion tons of Carbondioxide (CO2) from burning fossil fuels are being added to the atmosphere every year globally.

“As a tree matures, it can consume 22kg of CO2 per year (among other greenhouse gases like ozone), and releases oxygen for us to breathe.”

Odubote said that some researchers  had  also discovered  that the earth’s ecosystems could support another 900 million hectares (2.2 billion acres) of forests, which is 25 per cent of more forested area than we have now.

“They estimate that, by planting more than a half trillion trees, we can capture about 205 gigatons of carbon (a gigaton is 1 billion metric tons), reducing atmospheric carbon by about 25 per cent.

“According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, the shade from trees, together with the water vapour they release, can reduce peak temperatures by as much as 20–45°F (11–25°C) compared to unshaded areas.”

Odubote decried the attitude of some  Nigerians toward tree planting as he called on the government to follow up on its afforestation policies.

“We do not  treat trees right in this country. The trees planted on the median reserved as green areas – are most times destroyed by motorists, especially, commercial bus drivers.

“All stakeholders need to unite and see tree planting as a way of survival and preventing a climate change pandemic.

“The government should implement “one household – one tree programme”. It is not only about tree planting but also the survival and sustainability of those trees,” he said.

He said that the  government had some plans in place but could not be implemented due to  inadequate monitoring.

“For example, few months ago, the Minister of Environment inaugurated the implementation committee on afforestation, drawn from key stakeholders across the country with the responsibility of planting 25 million trees nationwide,” Odubote said.

In addition, he called for a sustainable plan that would  ensure that  trees survive in the country.

“The government should set up carbon reduction schemes and encourage private companies to invest in tree planting.

“For example,  companies and individuals whose products tend to pollute the environment  can purchase a credit equivalent to a proportion of CO2 generated. 

” The funds realised from it  is paid into an emissions reduction programme  for planting trees or investing in renewable energy projects,” he said.