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Ministry harps on ESIA for projects

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The Federal Ministry of Environment has harped on the role of Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) in developmental projects.

Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor, who spoke at the first stakeholders meeting on ESIA for the Lagos Fourth Mainland Bridge, stated that every developmental project carries its own environmental crises.

Ikeazor, who was represented by Mrs. Oluwatoyin Agbenla, a director in the ministry, said much desirable as the project is, it comes with a plethora of environmental problems, challenges and negative impacts.

She said some of the environmental issues involved in the construction of a massive bridge of this nature are construction phase impacts like, swamp forest degradation and habitat fragmentation, liquefaction, sedimentation and ground water impacts, biodiversity impacts from the alteration of wetland hydrology (severance); and some operational phase impacts like road traffic noise, unintended consequences of infrastructure improvement and human health impacts.

The minister noted that the Niger Delta environmental degradation, the Kainji and Bakolori Dams are grim reminders of the severe negative consequences of not considering environmental problems prior to projects.

She said: “Environmental impact assessment, as a national instrument, shall be undertaken for proposed activities that are likely to have a significant adverse impact on the environment and are subject to a decision of a competent national authority.”

Ikeazor stressed the ministry as the apex regulator and enforcer of the EIA Act, will assist in tackling the numerous institutional bottlenecks currently bedeviling the smooth practice of environmental impact assessment in Nigeria of which many of those issues, the meeting seeks to address in a collaborative manner between the three tiers of government, organized private sector, civil society and traditional groups.

The minister said the proceedings from the stakeholders’ meeting will put forward far-reaching ideas and recommendations that will assist in making the proposed fourth mainland bridge a major development project that was executed at the highest levels of environmental sustainability.


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