Sterling One Foundation has restated its commitment to the restoration of degraded wetlands within the Lagos metropolis. The Chief Executive Officer of Sterling One, Mrs Olapeju Ibekwe, made the disclosure in an interview with newsmen on Thursday in Lagos to mark World Wetlands Day (WWD). Newsmen reports that WWD is celebrated on Feb, 2 every year to create awareness for the protection of wetlands. The theme of the 2023 celebration is: “It is Time for Wetlands Restoration.”
Ibekwe said that the 2023 WWD theme was apt and central to the foundation’s goal of restoring degraded wetlands across the beaches it adopted for clean-up in Lagos.
She said that in 2023, the foundation would be committed to taking more positive action to fight climate change and protect the environment, especially coastal ecosystems and wetlands.
According to her, keeping healthy and sustainable wetlands will in turn promote the good health and survival of the species who live in them and the human beings who depend on them for one reason or the other.
Ibekwe said that the drive for wetlands restoration pushed the foundation in 2019 to launch its Beach Adoption Project, and the cleaning of the adopted beaches in a more sustainable manner.
She said that the foundation had been at the forefront of collecting plastic waste from the ocean to reduce the effect of plastic pollution on the livelihood of the host community as well as the imbalance of aquatic life.
“So far, the foundation has collected about 10 tonnes of plastic waste following the adoption of five beaches, and the establishment of a waste collector network. The network mainly comprises of about 40 women and youths from the host communities of the adopted beaches, who are supported by over 1,000 volunteers through beach clean-up events. Our goal has remained to create a different and more sustainable approach to how we interact with our environment. And we have decided to double down on this by setting up climate education projects targeted at secondary school students so we can start building the right behaviours early,” Ibekwe said.
She said that experts argued that 40 percent of all plant and animal species live in wetlands, meaning that every wetland issue affects the earth’s biodiversity.
“Despite this importance, reports also show that over the last 50 years, about 35 per cent of the world’s wetlands have been lost. The foundation hopes that its continued prioritization of wetlands can help stem the negative effects currently being experienced and create a more resilient environment,” Ibekwe said.