Expert tasks governments on environmental impact assessment on activities of dredgers
An environmental expert, Mr Ayo Abiodun, has called for sector-based enlightenment campaign for dredgers on the impact of their activities on the environment and marine life.
Abiodun, the Managing Director, Odun Environmentals, made the plea in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Lagos.
According to him, many dredgers in the country were unaware of the negative effects of dredging activities on the environment and communities where they operate.
According to him, many dredgers are unaware of the significance and the need for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in the neighbourhoods and communities where they operate.
He said: “A lot of them (dredgers) don’t understand fully the significance of the EIA or possible impact of their activities on the environment.
“They need to be educated because some of them are oblivious of the impact of what they are doing.
“Some of them believe that perhaps, because there are no communities near them, then there is no significant impact.
“But obviously, there are other areas that one has to look at, like the sea bed, fishes, and activities of fishermen in that area or those whose source of living depend on it.
“So, the use of the EIA needs to be encouraged and enforced from the very beginning, before any dredging activity starts.’’
Abiodun added that apart from affording dredgers the opportunity to implement measures that could mitigate the identified foreseeable impact of dredging activities, an EIA wiould certainly reduce the overall costs of their activities in the future.
“Many dredging companies seem to complain about the financial cost of following due process during the EIA and tend to avoid such assessment.
“This should not be allowed because at the end of the day, what it does is a case of if these things are identified, it actually reduces the overall costs that could arise in future.
Abiodun, therefore, urged both the Federal and State Governments to strengthen relevant agencies to ensure dredging activities in country conform to international best practices, saying, “best practices are not being implemented fully and wholly.’’
NAN reports that the Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) on Thursday issued new rules to regulate the activities of sand dredgers in Lagos State.
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