Nigeria calls for environmental protection through an engineered solution to erosion to address the loss of almost one thousand sites, including one university campus in the state of Anambra.
Soil erosion has reduced Anambra’s surface landmass to the point that it has become the smallest state of the federation. Erosion is also threatening households as huge gullies develop in susceptible areas and threaten to destroy households, universities, road links and industrial facilities. Beyond the World Bank aid programs, a national plan is needed.
Geographers believe Anambra is a 4,800 square-km state in southern Nigeria. In fact, the real surface area is shrinking due to soil erosion; a nation-wide phenomenon is particularly evident in Anambra. According to the State Governor, Anambra has lost so much ground to erosion that it has become the smallest state of the federation.
Gully erosion is a highly visible form of soil erosion and an age-old problem, but climate change and poor land management have brought the issue to the fore in recent years. Allafrica reports that there are over 960 active erosion sites in Anambra, affecting dozens of local communities. The repercussions for households are shocking, as gullies swallow up entire buildings, houses and production facilities.
A specific example is the threat posed by erosion to the Oko Federal Polytechnic. Here, more than 25 million US dollars have been invested in buildings and research facilities and developing the most advanced teaching programs. But 10 m erosion gullies now threaten the polytechnic and in doing so, the future generations of scholars.
As part of the efforts to stop erosion encroachment, the World Bank intervened with specific aid measures. Eight sites have been approved within the approved eight erosion sites in Anambra State for construction and remedial measures for the Nigeria Erosion Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP).
The progress of the works is annually assessed by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and World Bank, in collaboration with Siraj Nigeria and Maccaferri Nigeria, (the Federal Quality Control Engineering firms).
However, intervention in erosion-hit areas is extremely demanding, both in terms of engineering and financial respects. For this reason, although additional sites are scheduled to be restored by the end of the year by the World Bank, the whole scenario calls for greater intervention by local authorities, the federal government, international organizations and the corporate sector.
Within this context, Maccaferri, with its decades of world-wide experience in preventing and fighting soil erosion, represents a valuable source of specific knowledge. Maccaferri Nigeria will be excited to offer its own contribution in order to safeguard the assets of the country and is among the main influencers in the use of geosynthetics in the construction industry.
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