Mitigating flooding, environmental challenges in mega city

As rains beckon with associated effects of flooding, erosion and sea level rise in cities, Lagos has put measures in place to mitigate climate change-induced  environmental challenges. Dayo Ayeyemi reports




rom Sokoto to Lagos, Maiduguri  to Port Harcourt, Nigeria is confronted with various  environmental challenges induced mainly by climate change and global warming.



Some of the challenges include  flooding, erosion, desertification, deforestation, excessive heat,  ocean surge and sea level rise among others.



While the Federal Government is enjoining states on tree planting campaign and other initiatives, state   authorities too have come up with different measures to tackle the challenges as they affect them.



However, it is no longer news that torrential rainfall with sporadic  and increasing intensity associated with  climate change.


Settlement in flood prone areas, blockage of drains and river channels, low elevation and the associated poor hydraulic  conductivity of the drainage  channels, and poor upstream  reservoir regulation on Ogun River  are  major causes of flooding in Lagos State.



What is news is the  proactive step being explored by the  state  government in tackling or reducing effects of flooding  and other environmental challenges on  residents, property and businesses.



About 28 states out of 36 are also affected by flooding annually in Nigeria.



Abreast  with the history of environmental challenges of Lagos State, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said he was  not living any stone unturned  by exploring  effective urban planning, developmental control, drainage designs, dredging, construction of  drainage channels and  environmental education to mitigate  all climate change-induced problems confronting the state.



In preparation for the likely consequences of 240 to 270 days  of rains in 2020  as predicted for Lagos by Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET), he said his administration  had embarked on  extensive dredging of water channel  projects across the state. 



He added that  there were  also massive desilting of drains, clearing of culverts with identification of  black spots as the state prepares fully for rains.



According to his Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources in Lagos, Dr Tunji Bello, critical channels have been worked on, 83 secondary drains maintained by the Emergency Flood Abatement Gang (EFAG),  while 40 primary channels have been  approved and awarded out of which 34 channels already  executed.



While urging residents of Lagos State to prepare for likely consequences, Bello assured  that government  would continue to reap the gains of planning, as the flood control measures in the state had been stepped up to contain any unforeseen weather condition.



The commissioner added that relevant measures had been put in place in preparation for the 2020 rainy season.



Bello said the state was determined to maintain and sustain the long-established synergy and partnership with Ogun-Osun River Basin Development Authority.



He said the partnership had ensured control and monitoring of steady and systematic release of water from Oyan Dam to prevent flooding of the release of the downstream communities. 



However,  many residents and conservationists  have expressed worries over massive  dredging and sand filling in the state, linking it to incessant flooding  and ocean surge in Lagos.




Uncontrolled dredging and sandfilling activities,  Project Manager, Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), Mr. Adedamola Ogunsesan,  said  would  worsen flood’s problem in Lagos metropolis  since displaced water must go elsewhere. He also bemoaned government’s  tendencies of abandoning EIAs when such projects are being carried out.




If the project  must be done at all,  he advised that it should be carried out  in a sustainable manner, and that government must be transparent about reclamation,  dredging and sandfilling processespecially. 

Waste mgt



In the area of waste management,  Senior Special Assistant to  the Governor on Media, Mr.  Babatunde Alao,  said that Sanwo-Olu’s administration had repositioned the Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) for an effective  and resourceful waste management programme towards elimination of refuse  in the state.



With the support of the Public Sector Participation operators,  he stated that LAWMA had succeeded in cleaning wastes indiscriminately dumped in different parts of the state.

Sanwo-Olu said  his administration had acquired 10 new boats to boost marine waste collection in collaboration with the Food and Beverage Recycling Alliance.



This initiative,  he said, resulted in  preservation of acquatic  flora and fauna in the state in line with government’s policy direction on constant clean-up of waterways to enhance a cleaner and aesthetic environment.



On beautification and development of parks and gardens, Sanwo-Olu maintained that  they have  been improved upon, adding that Oregun park and others across the state  were being designed to promote relaxation, recreation and picnic.



According to the governor,  Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) has also  engaged various stakeholders on dangers of environmental pollution especially noise pollution.



“There is also waterfront clean-up to reduce pollution in lagoons, including sanitation and disinfection of public places as part of efforts at curbing the spread of COVID-19,” the governor said.



He added that LAWMA  also introduced the construction, demolition and Disaster Waste Management  inititive to prevent, minimise, reuse, recycle,  recover and dispose waste, adding that the Blue Box initiative that was introduced to the system to encourage separation of recyclables materials from the general waste.

He disclosed that  five community recycling centres have been activated in five local council development areas  with recyclers strategically positioned to help drive the process.

Last line



Government must revive its waste to wealth programme to create business opportunities for people.




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