Why cooking with firewood is dangerous to health – Commissioner

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… We’re promoting agroforestry to encourage farmers on trees planting’

Rakiya A. Muhammad

Concern over the adverse effect of using firewood and charcoal reechoed at the launching of the annual tree planting campaign in Sokoto State.

This is just as the state government said it is promoting Agro-Forestry to encourage farmers to patronise the plantings of trees together with crops in their farmlands.

“Besides, the constant emission and Chloro Floro Carbon (CFC) released which destroy the Ozone Layer and cause major Environmental Challenges and Global Warming,” Sokoto Commissioner for Environment, Hon. Sagir Attahiru Bafarawa observed, “studies by Rural Women Energy Security
(RUWES) and its allies have shown that our dear wives are exposed to smoking approximately the equivalent of not less than ten (10) packets of unfiltered cigarettes on preparing a single meal which causes serious diseases such as bronchitis, asthma, heart failure, blindness, body rashes, etc.”

He expressed concern that despite the serious negative effect, this environmental challenge receives little or no attention.

However, the Commissioner assured efforts were on to develop alternatives to charcoal.

“This illegal activity of charcoal production is destroying our forest, and the natural alternatives that come to mind are mineral coal, briquettes and cooking gas,” he stated.

“We shall continue to press further on, especially addressing some of our challenges such as extreme pressure on our forest reserves due to illegal activities such as encroachment for farming and charcoal making and fuelwood.”

On this year’s tree-planting campaign, he said they carefully chose the theme ‘Promoting Agro-Forestry Towards Sustainable Economic Development’, to encourage farmers to patronise the plantings of trees together with crops in their farmlands.

“Our approach to this task of tree planting is breaking with the normal practice of the exercise as we are promoting Agro-Forestry,” he asserted.

“In a similar context, it has been globally observed that green economy in the modern world is one of the accelerated ways of economic empowerment in the society.”

Bafarawa disclosed they secured the site for this year’s exercise because of its treeless nature and in line with the tradition of reviving the major Green House Gas Emission Sinks that were lost following development.

“This is in addition to our desire to encourage business enterprise. At least the trees that would be planted today would not only provide shade for the traders, but they will be an essential source of oxygen and work as natural air filters as well as protect the land and boost economic activities not only for Kilgori district and Yabo Local Government Area but the entire State as a whole.”

He also highlighted efforts of the ‘Ministerial Committee on Re-Greening and Climate Change Action Plan’ established last year in the state.

According to him, the committee embarked on the restoration of some Principal Green House Gas Emission Sinks, through enrichment of plantation with the establishment of one hectare of Orchard and 3 km plantation at the Sultan Abubakar III Jummu’at Mosque, Sokoto.

It also established orchards and gardens in 20 selected Secondary School state-wide, and 20kms roadside plantation at Airport Road in Sokoto Metropolis.

Bafarawa added the committee raised and distributed one million assorted tree seedlings, some of which were planted at five newly established Housing Estates at Mana, Kalambaina, Bado, Bafarawa and Gidan Man Ada Housing Estates.

The commissioner revealed new programmes to include raising and distribution of two million assorted tree seedlings with emphasis on mango, dates palm, shea butter, guava and gum Arabic, and the expansion of the school orchard programme to cover 50 selected
secondary schools and resuscitation of the young foresters’ clubs and rehabilitation of some dilapidated forest nurseries.

He said they would erect 10 boreholes with complete reticulation in some selected areas; organise workshops on briquette making and usage to encourage the use of alternative sources of Energy; and facilitate the establishment of Waste Recycling Plants (metal, rubber, and energy) to address the challenges of waste generation and management.

Your Excellency, the launching of the campaign this year is a mark of consistency in the struggle to protect our people and the Environment and, by extension, their livelihoods.

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