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TUC allay fears of environmental hazard over absence of wetland

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[files] Members of Nigeria Labour congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) .PHOTO: LADIDI LUCY ELUKPO


Lagos State Council of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has allayed fears of environmental hazard over absence of wetland.

The union also disclosed that over 87 per cent of vacant wetland in the metropolis have been converted to high density and unplanned residential housing spaces.

TUC in a statement by the Chairman, Gbenga Ekundayo and state’s secretary, Aladetan Abiodun to commemorate this year’s World Environmental Day, advised Lagos to protect the wetland and save the environment and humanity.

The union said this year’s topic ‘Ecosystem Restoration’ aptly located the thoughts on the current state of the environment in the state.

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The union said that for over three decades, Lagos had undergone rapid urbanisation and infrastructural developments. However, spurred by demands for lands and housing, it stated that successive city planners in metropolitan Lagos, characterised by low-lying tidal flats, estuaries, wetlands, and sandy barrier beaches, had haphazardly embarked on reclamation, sand-filling of the lagoon shores, excessive dredging, encroachment on natural drainage channels and unrestrained deforestation.

“Available records show that the mangrove wetland in Lagos decreased from 88.51km square to 19.95km square at -3.12km square annually while swamps decreased from 344.75km square to 165.37km square at 8.15km square yearly.

“Out of the 20 LGA in the state, 10 local councils are coterminous with the lagoon shores and wetlands. However, with the spate of reclamation and uncontrolled waterfront projects in the state, only four councils can still boast of the presence of wetland by 2020. This can spell unprecedented environmental hazards in the foreseeable future,” the statement said.

As a consequence, TUC posited that the present practice was not only capable of causing untoward assaults on the ecosystem, but also responsible for the disruption of ecological balance and biodiversity.

The union said the loss of capacity of the wetland to hold surface runoffs might cause flooding and unprecedented destruction of lives and properties of the inhabitants of the state. It said further assaults on the wetland could deny Lagosians functions freely delivered to the ecosystem and human habitats.

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“These include flood storage, and distribution, retention of sediments and nutrients, aesthetics, educational benefits, aquifer recharge, ground water quality improvement and a host of other benefits which unrestrained assaults on the wetlands may deny Lagosians” the statement stressed.

The group appealed to the state government to expedite actions on environmental issues as open defecation, which has direct effects on the health and wellness of Lagosians as well as noise and air pollution, indiscriminate disposal of untreated sewage into the lagoon and water bodies as well as pollution of groundwater.

It charged the state to improve on the installation of eco-friendly, effective and efficient sewage plants that would ensure the treatment of sewage and other wastewater before release.

“This will prevent prevailing pollution of groundwater in the state and avert outbreak of diseases that may cause national or global emergencies. The State is equally enjoined to improve access to portable water and significantly reduce emission of carbon monoxide from industries and automobiles,” the statement added.

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