By Ifeanyi Okonkwo
Anambra State Commissioner For Environment, Engr. Felix Odimegu has called on the Nigeria Erosion Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) to rescue the state from the scorge of erosion.
Odimegu in his speech at the opening session of the Nigeria Erosion Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) held at the International Convention Center (ICC), Awka stated that Anambra is faced with existential threats from the scourge of erosion
In his words: “We are the state with the second highest population density in Nigeria and alongside that, we have the most active number of erosion site. It’s been reported that circa 70 percent of the lands in Anambra is at risk of gully erosion.
“This is the precarious time we are in, with less than three (3) percent of our erosion under control. We not only ask for more, but wish to charge NEWMAP and her funding partners to declare a state of emergency.
“As government, we are prepared to do things differently this time around to forestall this scourge. Erosion is a manmade activity that weakens soil aggregation and makes the soil susceptible to run over velocity as in the case here.
“The previous attempt at managing erosion has largely on post-erosion management whereby, remedies in form of engineering work only takes place after erosion has occurred, destroying scarce land, properties or even life, while compounding difficulties that we are already in.
“This time, we want to devote more time to pre-erosion management by nipping in the bud erosion before it occurs. We will work with researchers in various institution of learning to identify key erosion sites and obtain the erosivity and erodibility index of every location in the state.
“In these ways, we can prioritize tree planting and other erosion control mechanisms in locations with a higher probability of erosion.
“In managing erosion, regulations are key. At the ministry of environment under my watch, we will work to regulate the reckless endangerment of our environment by illegal sand miners others whose activities pose danger to our environment and trigger erosion.
“Managing erosion in Anambra also requires inter-ministerial approach. Run-off and in-properly channel drainages where they exist or the total absence of it where they should exist are major factors in multiplying erosion sites in the state.
“As government, we will collaborate to provide a proper channel for run-off and rapidly provide well channeled drainages where they ought to exist.
“I urge NEWMAP to extend there word to our watershed. Lots of river springs and streams in the state are drying up duo to the improper management of our watershed over the years. We will do better these time around with the collaboration of and other supporting agencies.