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NGO seeks measures to address impact of climate change on children, nation

An NGO, Save The Children International (SCI), has called for measures by the government and individuals to address the impact of climate change on children and the nation.

The Advocacy Campaign and Policy Manager for SCI, Abuja Field Office, Mr Ifedilichukwu Innocent, made the call on Monday in Kano, at a three-day review meeting and climate change step-down training for journalists.

He said that children could experience mental health impacts from major storms, fires and other extreme events that were expected to increase with a changing climate.

Innocent added that the children could also suffer from other changes, such as having to move due to climate threats, where young children depend on adults for their safety and well-being.

He also said that in many parts of the world, people face multiple climate-related impacts such as severe drought and flooding, air pollution and water scarcity, leaving their children vulnerable to malnutrition and disease.

“Almost every child on earth is exposed to at least one of these climate and environmental hazards. Without urgent action, this number will go up,”he said.

Innocent said that SCI believed in a world in which all the children survive, have the chance to learn and were protected from abuse, neglect and exploitation.

He, therefore, said that, climate change as an all-encompassing crisis, impacts the livelihoods, environment, health, safety as well as education of communities and vulnerable communities, particularly children who suffer its worst consequences.

Innocent said, ”Children suffer from climate change, where it hampers their future growth, thereby hindering them in reaching or achieving the expected potential in the future.

“Climate change affects children, where parents are forced to restructure their livelihoods.

”For example, in a suburb, a man only has the option of sending one male child out of five children to school due to the devastating effect of flood on his farm land which is used in sustaining the family.

“Sending that only child to school, excluding the others, would negatively impact on their future, the other children, who may be girls, could be sent hawking as alternatives to fend for the family.

“As an alternative to fending for the family, the female children sent for hawking, are now vulnerable to so many dangers which include sexual abuse, among many others which are all due to effects of flood (Climate change).”

The manager lamented that African leaders always shy away from engaging in major conversations that have to do with climate change.

Innocent called on the government at all levels to ensure variable and efficient waste management.

”This includes an option of recycling plants that rewards people who deposit waste which will be used for the production of useful items and materials,” he added.

Innocent also urged the Federal Government to take advantage of the 2023 UN Climate Change Conference, which was held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).

This is by ensuring the implementation of some of the measures aimed at addressing climate change.

Innocent also urged individuals to engage in tree planting, where the government at various levels should not only relent on the enforcement of the ban on tree felling.

He, however, commended the Lagos State Government for banning the usage and distribution of Styrofoam and other single-use plastics across the state.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN0 reports that single-use plastic products (SUPs) are used once or for a short period of time, before being thrown away.

The impacts of this plastic waste on the environment and health are global and can be drastic.

Single-use plastic products are more likely to end up in the seas than reusable options. (NAN)

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