The Lagos State government has urged Sand miners and dredgers to protect the environment of their operation.
The Commissioner for the Environment, Dr. Babatunde Adejare, gave the charge at the World Soil Day held in Ikeja.
He said in line with the theme of event, which was “Caring for the planet starts from the ground,”the government decided to raise awareness on the importance of sustaining healthy ecosystems and human well-being by addressing the challenges in soil management through the seminar.
He said organisations, communities and individuals should give attention to the problems 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.
Adejare said the ever-growing population of the state with the attendant increase in demand for shelter and food brought about aggravating pressure on Sand Mining and dredging on land and water, 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.
He said it was imperative for the 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.
“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 asid.
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 well being 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 the government’s 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.
December 5 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 was commemorated by Lagos State last year.