Greater interest in our planet since the inception of the International Wildlife Day has led to the discovery of new life forms in the world, a conservationist has said.

The Technical Director of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), Joseph Onoja, said this on the Sunrise Daily programme of Channels Television on Saturday. Mr Onoja appeared on the programme to draw attention to the celebration of the Day.

The International Wildlife Day is celebrated globally on March 3 to raise awareness of the multiple benefits of conservation. The theme for the event this year was “Life Below Water: For People and Planet.”

To underscore the negative effect of the reduction of the species, the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 15 focuses on halting biodiversity loss.

Mr Onoja said most humans have failed to realise that the life forms that exist on land also exist under water.

“With recent study and research, it has been discovered that there are close to over 200,000 forms of live species under water,” he said.

“In most cases, we forget that they exist and that these species form an integral part of human existence.”

He said humans are the least equipped species to survive on earth and with this in mind, humans continue to expand and build structures for their own survival to the detriment of animals and other species.

Also speaking on the programme, the Project Manager of Lekki Conservation, Adedamola Ogunsegun, said the recent rate of pollution of water bodies by the disposal of toxic waste threatens the existence of humans.

He said it also affects the well-being of humans due to the increase of flooding and the reduction of the number of aquatic organisms.

“The continuous disposal of plastics into water bodies exposes organisms to consuming these plastics in micro forms and in turn humans consume edible aquatic organisms,” he said.

He furthered stated that arrogance and ignorance make humans continue to risk the lives of species underwater through “abusing the constant technological advancement and the impression that we can always have a better world.”

SOLUTIONS TO ENDANGERED LIFEFORMS

Mr Ogunsegun said to solve the problems of water pollution and endangerment of life forms under water, humans have to reduce the consumption of aquatic organisms and reduce the release of toxic chemicals into water bodies that kill off corals.

To drive home his point, he said 50 per cent of the world’s oxygen comes from water bodies and are produced by phytoplankton’s and corals that absorb carbon dioxide.

Speaking on the effect of global warming on the changes in climate, he said the impact is faced more by the Third World countries.

“In Nigeria, there is less than 10 per cent forest cover. The benchmark is set at 55 per cent by the FAOs,” he said.

“The causes of this deforestation can be attributed to illegal felling of trees, burning of trees to produce charcoal, and poor implementation of policies by government officials,” Mr Ogunsegun said.

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