NCF expresses concern over sand mining in Lagos

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Maureen Ihua-Maduenyi

The Nigerian Conservation Foundation has said that the increase in sand mining activities in Lagos State has become worrisome considering its implication on the environment.

The NCF said the environmental impacts of sand mining and dredging were disastrous and could lead to soil erosion, formation of sinkholes, loss of bio-diversity, soil contamination resulting from leakage of chemicals into the soil, deforestation, coastal erosion and loss of aquatic lives.

According to the foundation, 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.

In a statement signed by its Director-General, Adeniyi Karunwi, the foundation said, “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. The construction industry is one sector that has created huge opportunities for both skilled and unskilled labour in Lagos.

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“But this, no doubt, has led to an increase in sand mining activities in parts of the state, with its attendant environmental and economic consequences. Continued dredging in the state’s shorelines has been described as an illegal activity capable of causing major environmental challenges for Lagos in its bid for sustainability.”

The NCF said the demand for sand for the construction of roads and buildings had increased sand mining and dredging, leading to a high demand for low-cost sand.

It added that a recent biodiversity survey by a team of ornithologists along the Lagos lagoon from Sangotedo to Badagry showed an unprecedented proliferation of dredging activities.

“This situation has created doubts, whether they are being regulated and coordinated. Such un-coordinated activities by miners and dredgers are capable of causing great depths of almost six metres in the seabed, as reflected in the Banana Island to the Third Mainland Bridge axis reported by the Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research,” the foundation added.

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It stated that the NIOMR’s report further found 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 the 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 will eventually consume us,” the foundation stated.

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