An environmentalist, Aisha Okunade, on Thursday called on relevant authorities to ensure environmental safety in mining sites through effective regulations.
Okunade, who is a lecturer, School of Environmental Studies, Kaduna Polytechnic, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kaduna.
“The effect of mining is being compounded by the continues rise in water level, thereby exposing those who reside near river banks and flood-prone areas to the risk of flood.
“The demand for sand and gravel for construction has been on the increase across the country and there is the need for regulation,” the environmentalist said.
She noted that mining operators, in conjunction with recognised resource agencies, should work hard to ensure that miners who excavate sand do so to protect the environment.
Okunade described excessive in-stream sand mining as a threat to bridges, river banks and nearby structures, putting them at risk of collapse.
“There has to be periodic assessment of how much sand can be sustainably mined, as the quantity can vary from a river to river and within a river from stretch to stretch.’’
Illegally dredged sand, Okunade added, was equivalent to robbing water.
“Sand holds a lot of water and when it is mindlessly mined and laden on to trucks, large quantities of water is lost in transit,“ she said.
Okunade, however, advised that limits should be placed on the quantities of sand that could be mined.
“There needs to be restriction as thousands of tonnes of sand is being illegally mined to meet the rising demand of construction industry and for extraction of minerals,“ she said.