Nigeria is home to numerous gaseous pollution; from generator fumes, automobile emissions, crop burning, refuse burning – name it. Little wonder Nigeria ranks fourth for air pollution across the globe and has the largest number of deaths due to air pollution in Africa. In 2016, 150 people per 100,000 people died as a result of air pollution. The State of the Global Air Report that the Health Effects Institute (HEI) published determined that Nigeria’s air quality is considered one of the most lethal worldwide according to a report by the Health Effects Institute.

But all hope is not lost. Among the many measures deployed to redress air pollution in Nigeria, is tree planting. Trees have an important role to play in the ecosystem. While they have an aesthetic appeal, their value and purpose are enormous; and their existence is vital for our survival.

One of the important roles of trees is to combat global warming by absorbing carbon dioxide, removing and storing the carbon and releasing oxygen back into the air. They contribute to better air quality by capturing and trapping dust and other pollutants in the air. The shade provided by trees also acts as a valuable barrier against the sun’s harmful ultra-violet radiation. As they lose moisture and reflect heat upwards from their leaves, they also lower wind speeds and chill the air. It is believed that trees can reduce metropolitan temperatures by up to 7°C. They absorb water, which helps to reduce soil erosion and flooding. But it’s not just our physical health that benefits; our mental wellness. Stress and depression levels can be greatly lowered when one is surrounded by trees or engages in nature-based activities.

It is with the hope of cleaner and healthier air to breathe, that Umar Abubakar Sadiq set out on the project “Plant a Tree” to improve the ecosystem of his community. The project falls under Environment And Global Climate Change/Deforestation Prevention; a program targeted at educating people on the impact of climate change and how to help combat global warming, using a nature-based solution. 

28-year-old Umar is a graduate of Public Administration from Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic Zaria. Currently teaching in Kaduna, Umar is passionate about the attainment of the SDGs goals. He plans to contribute his quota by 50 trees annually till 2030.

Umar carried out the project at Heyik International School, Kakuri, Kaduna South, and Kudenda community in Chikun LGA, both in Kaduna.

The details of the projects entailed the following;

  •         Tree planting project at Heyik Secondary School Kakuri and Kudenda.
  •         Climate Education advocacy at News Embassy Media
  •         Public sensitization campaign on climate Education at Freedom Radio
  •         Plastics recycling in Kakuri Kaduna

In the course of the project, a minimum of 100 participants sensitized on the need to combat climate change using nature-based solutions. The participants took the ‘Plant A Tree Project’ knowledge test online and scored above average. They pledged their support to and commit to advocating for improving the ecosystem in their community. Over 50 students were encouraged to Plant-A-Tree monthly for 3months in their community. The crux of the project was the awarding of school fees to 4 pupils who committed to water the trees named after them daily.

Umar plans on reducing the tree deficit in my community by 0.8% annually till 2030 by planting 50 trees annually in his community. What action are you taking in your community?

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