By Elizabeth Osayande
Stakeholders believe that achieving a green environment is the key to healthy living and sustainable development.
This and more was the determination of key stakeholders during a forum hosted by the Federal University of Technology, Akure, FUTA to address issues bordering on implementing green infrastructure to promote health in informal neighborhoods. The Stakeholder Forum is supported by a research grant from the GCRF Center for Sustainable, Healthy and Learning Cities, SHLC, at the University of Glasgow, UK.
In his welcoming address, Vice Chancellor Prof. Joseph Fuwape stated that green stands for life and that the importance of health and the green environment is emphasized worldwide.
According to Prof. Fuwape, the Covid-19 pandemic was a hidden blessing as it allowed Nigeria to look inside for free food and vegetables.
His words: “Part of the lockdown remedial action that came from the pandemic was to say goodbye to green foods and vegetables.
“However, the social environment should not ignore the physical environment or the ecosystem. Because we have to take responsibility to make our environment green as various diseases such as Covid-19, Lassa fever, Ebola etc. appear, ”explained VC FUTA.
Contributing to the assertion of Prof. Fuwape, a former DVCD at FUTA, Prof. Tolu Akinbogun stated that the environment is very important for healing when someone is sick and emphasized the importance of a green infrastructure.
The head of the research group and principal investigator, Dr. For his part, Olumuyiwa Adegun stated that the aim of the forum is to bring stakeholders together to contribute to the three main issues: green infrastructure; Health; and informal neighborhood.
He highlighted the goals of the project aimed at understanding the connection between the subject and the transition from the present to the desirable / ideal state. In addition, it included an assessment of the socio-demographic characteristics of the people, an assessment of housing and health, access to green spaces such as parks and the connection with the natural environment.
The head of the Urban Renewal Department of the Ministry of Spatial Planning and Urban Development of the Ondo State, Mr. Garuba, who defined slums as areas where planning ethics and regulations are not adhered to, reiterated that the haphazard development in our cities was due to neglect of the master plan and that people do not expect the layout to be prepared.
Garba, who complained that the government had little or no consideration for planners, explained the main health benefits of green infrastructure.
Some of the benefits he said included: improving water quality; clean draining water; Contribution to wildlife capital; Contributing to a more sustainable environment; contribute to the general well-being of people.
His words: “The more greens we have, the purer the oxygen we take in and the better our health. We also need to plant trees to improve air quality in society.
In his discussion, Dr. Stephen Fagbemi, a community health doctor / state epidemiologist in Ondo state, advised adequate urban settlement planning.
According to Fagbemi, “cities are growing on all sides due to rural-urban migration. This unregulated development has led to urban slums which have subsequently given rise to disease.
“If we don’t take care of the slums, the whole city will be affected. There are cases of epidemics that turn things around and cause a new normal. We were able to avoid the Ebola and Covid 19 bullet during the first and second outbreaks. But there could be another virus attacking Nigeria and we may not be able to dodge this one. “Remarked the doctor.
Fagbemi, who stated that the Ondo state government needs to improve the tracking of people infected with the above epidemic and pandemic, called for adequate planning in the implementation of the urban greening.
He also called for the involvement of doctors in decision-making regarding the environment.
One of the speakers from the Kids and Teens Resource Center, Mr. Gbenga Adesunloro, examined the topic of green infrastructure from the perspective of civil society.
Green infrastructure, says Adesunloro, can bring about smart growth and help adapt to climate change. Green cities improve people’s physical health, mental health, and social well-being.
The Teens Coach called for people to be empowered and educated for better prospects. “We should get involved in tree planting and also raise the children.” He said.
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