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Implications of cutting trees: Citizens should be enlightened

Even with the ban on cutting down of trees by the Borno State government, the issue has been seriously increasing as a lot of people…

Even with the ban on cutting down of trees by the Borno State government, the issue has been seriously increasing as a lot of people are engaged in the lucrative business of cutting and burning trees for the production of charcoal in the state, which is threatening the environment.

The high demand of charcoal among lower-class families and students, especially with the rise in the cost of kerosene and cooking gas as well as the present economic hardship, has resulted to many residents of Maiduguri depending on charcoal for their daily cooking.

Many of those who are involved in cutting the trees seem to be ignorant of the negative implications of their business to the environment and climate change.

The deforestation for the production of charcoal can increase the risk of climate change, desertification, drought, flooding pollution among other negative impacts on the environment.

This year, the state government has begun planting 1.2 million trees in the 27 local government areas to tackle desertification and environmental degradation, but this effort of the government will be in vain if the cutting down of trees for charcoal business continues.

During this year’s rainy season, the state experienced drought spell, which affected farming activities which may result in food shortage and increase in the price of food. If the cutting of trees continues, it will continue to cause negative impact to the environment.

Therefore, there is the need for the state government under the administration of Governor Babagana Umara Zulum to intervene in order to provide solution to this issue through mobilisation and enlightenment of the citizens on the effects of cutting down trees on the environment.

It is very crucial to mobilise the citizens on the effects of cutting trees as they play a vital role in regulating the earth’s climate. Through the process of photosynthesis, trees absorb carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) from the atmosphere and release oxygen. This helps mitigate climate change by reducing the concentration of greenhouse gases and providing a natural carbon sink.

Meanwhile, as the charcoal business is becoming a big deal among the citizens, there is need for the state government to provide possible alternatives for those engaged in the business and the lower class families from relying on charcoal for their daily cooking activities.

There is also need for the Borno State government to collaborate with civil society organisations, non-governmental agencies, community leaders, security agencies, and media organisations among others to advocate, educate and enlighten the citizens, more especially those living in rural communities on the effects of deforestation to their lives and environment and also encourage them to engage in afforestation.

Addressing this issue will save the environment from risks of climate change and desertification, and preserve the ecosystem, where everyone will live without any risk from the climate change.

 

Musa Yusuf, Department of Mass Communication, University of Maiduguri

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