The government of Lagos State has urged sand miners and dredgers in the State to be mindful of their impacts on the environment and operate in manners that would prioritise the protection of the environment.
This charge was giving today by Dr. Samuel Babatunde Adejare, the Commissioner for the Environment during his welcome address at the 2017 World Soil Day which was marked in Ikeja with major stakeholders in the sand mining and dredging industry.
Adejare stated that in line with the theme of the year 2017 World Soil Day which is “Caring for the Planet starts from the Ground” the Lagos State Government decided to raise awareness on the importance of sustaining healthy ecosystems and human well-being by addressing the increasing challenges in soil management through a seminar.
He said that organizations, communities and individuals around the world must be encouraged to give attention to the pressing issues affecting soils, such as soil contamination, degradation, over mining, oil spills, poor waste disposal, flood and erosion among other activities impacting negatively on soils.
He stressed that the soil must be protected because it was responsible for our food, shelter and sustenance while the quality of the soil impacts so many other critical elements like water quality, biodiversity, wildlife habitat, plant growth and crop production.
“The message must be loud and clear; we must do all we can to protect and improve soil and its resources because it is the only home we have” he said.
He said that the ever growing population of Lagos State with the attendant increase in demand for shelter and food brought about aggravating pressure on sand mining and dredging on land and water respectively, adding that these activities contributed to the impact of Climate Change and Sea Water Rise, resulting in heavy erosion of coastal communities and flooding in the State.
He said it was imperative for the State Government to engage the stakeholders in regular seminar to address the soil challenges and threats as well as regulations required for the overall achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Agenda 2015-2030.
According to him: “The seminar will review some environmental challenges associated with sand mining and dredging in the State and appraise the prospects of the activities if carried out in sustainable patterns, showing scientific evidences as applicable across the globe”.
The Environment Commissioner reiterated that ensuring a safe, resilient and sustainable Lagos, through the conservation, protection and restoration of terrestrial and aquatic natural resources for the wellbeing of the citizenry in urban and rural areas of the State remained imperative to the government.
He advised residents to desist from indiscriminate disposal of spent oil, uncontrolled tree felling and urged tree planting to protect the soil from the ravaging effects of erosion.
Stressing government’s avowed commitment to the protection of the soil as a vital resource, Adejare warned those involved in illegal sand mining to desist as such would not be tolerated.
The 5th of December has been designated by United Nations as the World Soil Day following the adoption of the 68th UN General Assembly Resolution in 2013. The maiden edition in Nigeria was commemorated by Lagos State last year.
Assistant Director, Public Affairs
Ministry of the Environment
5th December, 2017