activities on the environment, an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
Consultant, Mr Ayo Abiodun, has prescribed more awareness programmes for locals
who engage in commercial dredging activities.
the impact of their trade on the environment and the need to carry out an EIA
within their work areas.
may be having difficulties aligning with the new guidelines by the National
Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) that they undertake an EIA before working, in
order to protect the environment.
important issues and particularly the need for operators to key into ‘best
practice’ in the sub-sector, to protect the environment and communities along
the coastal areas.
the impacts of dredging on the environment and what should actually be the best
noticed with regards to dredging activities, and the best practice anywhere in
the world is to have an Environmental Impact Assessment done before dredging
all the environmental impact will be identified, mitigation measures will also
be identified, and there will be a management plan to be able to take care of
any foreseeable environmental impact from that activity.
is what NIWA is trying to encourage and follow.
you say the dredging situation is like in this environment?
challenges definitely, because best practise is not being implemented fully and
assessment, what percentage is being done?
compliance monitoring, one also tends to look at it with regards to the
economics of the activity. You find out that a lot of companies that are
involved in dredging seem to complain about the financial cost of following due
assessment would prevent some of these foreseeable problems that could arise,
which should not be allowed because at the end of the day, what it does really
is a case of , if these things are identified, it could actually reduce the overall
cost that could arise in future.
awareness. They need to be aware of the impact of what they are doing, because
a lot of them don’t see the significance, they don’t understand fully, the
significance of the EIA or the significance of the possible impact of their
activity on the environment.
communities near them, there is no significant impact. But obviously, there are
other areas that one has to look at like the sea itself, the fishes; there are
so many other things that you look at, even activities of fishermen in the
of living, so there are so many things that one has to consider. It is very
important that the use of the EIA is encouraged and enforced from the beginning
before activity starts.
been the challenge of enforcement?
years, especially last year, NIWA has put more emphasis on the EIA prior to the
renewal of licenses and all that.
this dredging in the past five to 10 years and had never felt the importance
for the EIA. Now that it is being made a priority or the importance being
highlighted by NIWA, they are finding it difficult to align what they have been
doing before to this new approach, which actually comes at a cost that they had
not factored in before.
EIA and the truth is that it obviously cost money to do an EIA, but when you
look at some of these activities, they
have the potential to affect the environment, but also, the revenue from the
operations are not substantial.
it cost to do an EIA?
at the activity in that environment. So, the impact will be different from
another area, and the cost will be different because there are so many things
that you will consider.
community, then that community has to be considered, socio-economics has to be
different. With that, there is no comparison with cost; it depends on the
activity and the environment.
environment as a critical aspect that has to be considered in dredging. Lately,
they have been trying to put more emphasis on awareness with regards to the EIA
of the dredgers’ activities.
some of these effects of dredging activities. There had been some complaints
that, maybe some dredging activities were affecting the flow of water to some
communities or the access of water from some communities.
in ensuring now that moving forward, these new guidelines are to help reduce
any adverse effect of dredging.
says there should be huge portion of land before the EIA is done, is that not a
State Government have stepped in. For the Federal Government, what it says is
that it gives conditions under which it makes an EIA mandatory.
done, but it makes it mandatory once you do some things like the size of the
land, if it is like a pipeline project, the length of the pipeline, for
different projects, different guidelines as mandatory.
have realised that for that, it makes it a requirement for the Federal Ministry
of Environment. But for NIWA and Lagos State, no matter what you are doing,
once it is inside the waterways, is dredging, which should have an impact, an
EIA has to be done. It does not conflict with the FME.
standards. Our laws too are evolving, so, every time they review these laws,
they obviously improve on them.