National Coordinator, Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF SGP), Mrs. Ibironke Olubamise has said that awareness creation and community empowerment have helped in restoring the routes of migratory birds and their habitats in Yobe State, North East Nigeria.
Olubamise, made this known in an interview on Monday, 13th May in Abuja.
Olubamise spoke at the commemoration of the 2019 World Migratory Birds Day with the theme, “Protect Birds: Be Solution to Plastic Pollution.”
The World Migratory Birds Day is held on May 11 annually to raise global awareness campaign on the need for the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats.
According to Olubamise, GEF SGP implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has supported efforts to restore the routes of migratory birds in Yobe State and their habitats by creating awareness and empowering communities to take required actions.
“We call on others to support efforts to address plastic pollution in the ocean to save marine lives and save humanity from the imminent danger.
“Continuous creation of awareness, capacity building, incentives and initiating policies to address the issues will go a long way to encourage concerted action to restore migratory bird species,” she said.
The national coordinator said that second Saturday in May and October of every year were the days set aside by the international community to create awareness on the threats facing migratory birds.
She said that pollution, habitat loss and hunting were the major threats to the survival of migratory birds.
“Chief of this is pollution due to plastics. Many of the migratory birds are seabirds.
“It is has been established that plastics in the ocean will be more than the fish biomass by 2050 if the current trends continues.
“According to the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF), micro plastics is found in stomachs of 90 per cent of seabirds globally, compared to only 5 per cent in 1960.
“This has brought about a great concern for the world to implement strategies to reverse this dangerous trend,” Olubamise said.
“This year’s theme: `Protect birds, be the solution to plastic pollution’ is apt as it calls for an urgent effort globally to address plastic pollution which is posing great health risks to migratory sea birds and the world.
“Human beings will be the worst hit of the eventual consequences if we do not act now.
“Everyone can do something to protect the birds either directly or indirectly by refusing single use of plastics or use of plastics at all, reducing, reusing and recycling plastics and preventing them from entering the oceans and getting into the stomach of marine animals.
“There is need for community initiatives, regional and national policy development to address the menace of plastics and political will to make a change,” she said.