Foremost environmental NGO, The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) has urged the Lagos state government to check the spate of unwarranted mining of sands which is now prevalent in many parts of the state.
The organisation noted that though construction industry has created huge opportunities for both skilled and unskilled labour in Lagos, this, it says has no doubt led to increase in sand mining activities in parts of the State, with its attendant environmental and economic consequences.
The NGO also described the continued dredging in the State’s shorelines as an illegal activity capable of causing major environmental challenges for Lagos in its bid for sustainability.
“Environmental impacts of sand mining and dredging are disastrous. Soil erosion, formation of sinkholes, loss of bio-diversity, soil contamination resulting from leakages of chemicals into the soil, deforestation, coastal erosion and loss of aquatic lives are possible effects of dredging and mining.
For instance, dredging in some places has been largely responsible for the loss of breeding habitats for sea turtles, which depend on sandy beaches for their nesting and other biodiversity.” It noted.
The organisation said the demand for sand for the construction of roads and buildings has increased sand mining and dredging leading to a high demand for low-cost sand.
According to the Director General of the non-governmental organisation, a recent biodiversity survey by a team of ornithologists along the lagoon in Lagos State (from Sangotedo to Badagry) showed an unprecedented proliferation of dredging activities; he emphasised that the situation has created doubts whether they are being regulated and coordinated.
The organisation opined that un-coordinated activities by miners and dredgers are capable of causing great depths of almost six meters in the seabed.
It made reference the Banana Island to Third Mainland Bridge axis reported by the Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR). The report noted that depth was noticed in some of the areas where the Institute carried out the research.
“It is therefore in the light of the foregoing, that NCF is calling on the relevant government agencies responsible for stemming this increasing tide of sand mining and dredging, to put a halt to it before it becomes a monster that would eventually consume us.” NCF noted.
Sand mining is the process of removal of sand and gravel for the construction of buildings and roads. It is becoming an environmental issue as the demand for sand increases in the construction industry.