By Kingsley Ogugua
As part of the programmes marking the Word Environment Day (WED) 2019 commemorated globally on every June 5th, the Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka bestowed Environmental Ambassadors’ Award on distinguished Nigerians who have shown commitment to having a better Environment.
In his address, the Dean of the Faculty, Professor Cliff Nwanna described the awardees as environment friendly with regards to their passionate dedication towards a safe environment. Prof. Nwanna disclosed that the awardees emerged after series of stringent scrutiny by members of the Faculty board.
Among those honoured include former Senate President, Sen. Dr. Ken Nnamani, Chief Engr. Arthur Eze, High Chief Engr. Johnbosco Onunkwo, former Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Joseph Ahaneku, Chief Innocent Chukwuma, Group Capt. Benson Okoye, Chief Austin Chukwudi Oguejiofor, HRH Igwe Peter Uyanwa, High Chief Azubuike Ekweozor, Hon. Ugochukwu Ekweozor, among others.
Speaking on the theme “Air Pollution”, an associate Professor of Environmental Management, Dr. Anthony Okoye described Air pollution as a global health crisis causing unnecessary early mortality and ill health at a huge economic cost to the society. Dr. Okoye posited that WED 2019 offers a great opportunity to increase awareness of the world’s most pressing environmental issue of the 21st century. He further enjoined people to do the needful to reduce to the barest minimum the rate at which they contribute to air pollution through daily activities.
Reacting shortly after the award, an awardee and high player in the Nigeria’s Oil & Gas sector, Engr. Onunkwo posited that the issue of air pollution affects all and sundry and calls for collective efforts in decreasing the menace. He averred that Government has great role to play in making practical policies in curtailing human excesses as far as air pollution and environmental degradation is concerned. The astute politician equally commended in strong terms the efforts of the academia in proffering solutions to myriad of problems bedeviling the society; he however wondered why they are less appreciated by government at all levels. According to him, the academia deserve a pride of place in the country as their contributions to a better society is second to none. The philanthropist called on the newly elected governors to include the academia in their cabinet if they wish to succeed and perform optimally. He thanked the University for finding him worthy of the award and promised to continue partnering with the Faculty & the institution at large especially in supporting the working conditions of the academia.
Engr. Onunkwo had earlier joined other awardees in tree planting in the University which was one of the programmes lined up for the celebration.
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