The Lagos State Government has urged Sand Miners and Dredgers in the State to be mindful of the impact of their activities on the environment and operate in manners that would prioritise the protection of the environment.
This charge was given today by Dr. Samuel Babatunde Adejare, the State Commissioner for the Environment during in his address at the 2017 World Soil event organised for stakeholders in the sand mining and dredging industry as part of activities to mark the Day.
Adejare stated that in line with the theme of the Year 2017 World Soil Day: “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 organisations, 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.
The Commissioner 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.
According to him, “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 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 contribute to the impact of Climate Change and Sea Water Rise, resulting in heavy erosion of coastal communities and flooding in the State.
Adejare said it was imperative for the State Government to engage the stakeholders in a 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.
“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 evidence as applicable across the globe”, he informed.
The Commissioner reiterated that ensuring a safe, resilient and sustainable Lagos, through the conservation, protection and restoration of terrestrial and aquatic natural resources for the well being of the citizenry in urban and rural areas of the State remained imperative to the government.
He advised residents to desist from the indiscriminate disposal of spent oil and uncontrolled tree-felling, rather he urged them to embark on 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.
Recall that the 5th of December of every year was designated by United Nations as the World Soil Day following the adoption of the 68th UN General Assembly Resolution in 2013.