Lagos to host 10km mangrove marathon

Towards reducing further loss of the ecosystem, one of the leading environmental advocacy groups, Mangrove Marathon, will host a 10km Eco-run mangrove marathon in Lekki, Lagos.

With about 40 per cent of Nigerian mangrove cover lost to human activities, the group called for collective action among stakeholders to halt further depletion of the mangrove systems. It said mangrove forest faced unprecedented threats arising from human sources, including oil pollution, overexploitation, invasive species and municipal development.
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Mangrove Marathon, Mr. Jerry Chidi, explained that public engagement is key to save the mangrove, which serves as a life-support system for humans.
The 10-km run, which is in partnership with the Nigerian Conservation Foundation and Lekki Local Council, among others, will attract athletes across Nigeria and will flag off from Apakin, a predominantly mangrove environment in Lekki and end at Akodo-Ise on the axis.

Lagos is known for extensive coastlines that stretch along the Gulf of Guinea and is one of the 10 mangrove-bearing states with huge eco-tourism assets.
Chidi said: “Saving the mangrove is our collective responsibility since they provide for our well being and livelihood in coastal communities. Sponsorship benefits from the marathon will be channeled toward notable mangrove conservation and forest recovery projects like Falcorp Mangrove park in Delta state, Ecopark mangrove sanctuary and research centre in Ibeju lekki, NCF green recovery project, institute of mangrove ecology, plant a mangrove project and MangroveeXpo.”

He said: “The exigency of hosting the Eco-awareness run in Lagos is that the area is marked for heavy industry presence with the likes of Dangote Refinery, Lekki Deep Seaport, the Lekki Free Trade Zone, and an ancillary of industries springing up.

A heavily industrialised and populated Lagos needs mangroves to mop-up emitted carbon, protect the coastline and provide livelihood sustenance for millions of people. Mangrove marathon will be the rallying point for stakeholders to connect and collaborate to save the mangroves and other biodiversity hotspots in Lagos. Mangrove marathon Lagos 2023 comes up on July 29, to mark the international day for the conservation of the mangrove.” 
The Secretary, Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the competition, David Omawumi, said there would be a need for Nigeria to start the construction of the great mangrove wall from Badagry to Bakassi to protect the coastline and the entire ecosystems from complete depletion.
“The marathon is a community-based initiative. The LOC is pushing the marathon to 21-km by next year and 42-km by 2025 to attract international participants. The price for the Mangrove run is N5 million, N1m for the first prize for male and female categories, N500, 000 for the second prize, N250, 000 for the third prize as well as various amounts till we get to the last person. The emphasis is not about winning, but contributing to nature,” Omawumi said.
The Director General, Nigerian Conservation Foundation, Dr. Joseph Onoja represented by director of business development and communication, Uchenna Achunine, said creating awareness and consciousness for mangrove and forest restoration is crucial for preservation of the environment.

Source: Guardian Newspaper

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