EN­VI­RON­MENT Proper drainages, chan­neli­sa­tion can har­ness flood

Daily Trust - - DIGEST - By Chidimma C. Okeke

Flood is a phe­nom­e­non that af­fects hu­man­ity and its en­vi­ron­ment, but in spite of the havoc it can wreak, flood can be a bless­ing if prop­erly har­nessed and man­aged, ex­perts said.

The Nige­ria Hy­dro­log­i­cal Ser­vices Agency (NIHSA) in its 2017 flood out­look, pre­dicted that about 26 states across the fed­er­a­tion and 96 lo­cal govern­ment ar­eas are ex­pected to ex­pe­ri­ence high flood in the next few months.

The Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of NIHSA, Dr Moses Beck­ley, said an ad­di­tional 231 lo­cal govern­ment ar­eas from other states fall un­der the mod­er­ate flood risk ar­eas.

How­ever, most parts of the coun­try have ex­pe­ri­enced and are still ex­pe­ri­enc­ing flood, which has wreaked a lot of havoc through loss of lives and prop­er­ties.

The high im­pact of flood wit­nessed across the coun­try is at­trib­uted, by some stake­hold­ers, to the dev­as­tat­ing ef­fects of cli­mate change, and ex­ac­er­bated by the ac­tions of man that cause de­ser­ti­fi­ca­tion, car­bon emis­sions and dis­tor­tion of the eco­log­i­cal sys­tem among oth­ers.

In spite of the heavy dam­ages done by flood in­ci­dents na­tion­wide, how­ever, not much has been done by the au­thor­i­ties to har­ness the phe­nom­e­non.

Some ex­perts spoke to Daily Trust on how to har­ness and man­age the in­ci­dence of flood that is rav­aging the coun­try.

A pro­fes­sor of Sci­ence and En­vi­ron­men­tal Ed­u­ca­tion, Univer­sity of Abuja, Prof Bassey Ubom, said, “There is no way we can har­ness or man­age flood be­cause man has been wicked to the en­vi­ron­ment; man has de­lib­er­ately in­jured the en­vi­ron­ment and the en­vi­ron­ment will re­ply.”

He said it had been proven be­yond rea­son­able doubt that in the next 10 to 15 years all seashores, in La­gos, Cal­abar and Port Har­court would be flooded.

Prof Ubom ex­plained that the most in­dus­tri­alised na­tions are the cause of the chlo­roflu­o­ro­car­bon which de­pletes the ozone layer.

He said if they de­plete the Antarc­tica, where vir­tu­ally ev­ery­where is frozen, the ice would melt be­cause of ul­tra­vi­o­let rays com­ing di­rectly into the at­mos­phere and the wa­ter there would flow into the oceans and trib­u­taries re­sult­ing into flood.

He flayed the at­ti­tude of peo­ple in the dis­posal of refuse say­ing, “There is a marathonic refuse dis­posal and ev­ery­body is in­volved in­clud­ing the elite; peo­ple drop their refuse into the gut­ters and if you block the ar­eas that wa­ter is sup­posed to pass, flood oc­curs.”

Ac­cord­ing to him, en­vi­ron­men­tal­ism has made the world to be a global vil­lage.

“If you pour refuse into a gut­ter in Sokoto, it can go to Akwa Ibom or Cross River State and block an­other gut­ter and flood will oc­cur and houses will col­lapse,” he said.

The don, be­rated govern­ment for not tak­ing the nec­es­sary ac­tions, say­ing, “The flood that oc­curred in Kogi a long time ago, govern­ment has done noth­ing about it; no­body cares about any­thing; we are not proac­tive.”

He there­fore re­stated the need to in­tro­duce en­vi­ron­men­tal ed­u­ca­tion in all lev­els of ed­u­ca­tion - from nurs­ery to ter­tiary - so that peo­ple would ap­pre­ci­ate the en­vi­ron­ment.

He noted that if the govern­ment was proac­tive, it could start now to re­vamp all the chan­nels that wa­ter was sup­posed to pass through and open all the wa­ter­ways as that would help ad­dress the flood men­ace.

The Na­tional Pres­i­dent of En­vi­ron­men­tal Man­age­ment As­so­ci­a­tion of Nige­ria (EMAN), Em­manuel At­ing, an ar­chi­tect, who said peo­ple mis­rep­re­sented the cause of flood.

He said, “Flood­ing has to do with weather con­di­tion; when rain falls the ar­eas are flooded be­cause of lack of plan­ning and poor ac­tiv­i­ties in de­vel­op­men­tal con­trol and peo­ple build­ing on drainages, and without open spa­ces.”

He re­called the re­cent flood in La­gos, say­ing, “They went and re­claimed the beach and erected very tall build­ings, which in turn is adding very big pres­sure to the soil. And the set­tle­ment is without proper drainage de­sign for the wa­ter to empty into the river as is done in de­vel­oped coun­tries.”

At­ing ex­plained that the melt­ing of the ice at the poles was con­tribut­ing to the rise in sea level, though it was not so sig­nif­i­cant as to cause flood.

“Nat­u­rally when it rains, with the melt­ing of the ice, the vol­ume of the wa­ter will in­crease and it will con­trib­ute to coastal ero­sion, and when there is con­stant flow be­cause of the low na­ture of the sea level it is only nat­u­ral that there will be flood tur­bu­lence,” he added.

With this knowl­edge, it there­fore meant that when any project that could be af­fected was planned it was sup­posed to make pro­vi­sion for proper drainage and chan­neli­sa­tion sys­tem. This is be­cause the au­thor­i­ties al­ready know that some­thing like that would hap­pen, he main­tained.

“Flood­ing is a known thing so let them plan cities fol­low­ing proper devel­op­ment con­trol and do proper drainages and use proper chan­neli­sa­tion process,” he stressed.

He said the Fed­eral Govern­ment was aware that there would be flood­ing be­cause it had been fore­cast. There­fore it was not an emer­gency, but the govern­ment did noth­ing in terms of clear­ing the drainages, build­ing new ones and do­ing proper chan­neli­sa­tion.

At­ing ad­vised govern­ment to re­move build­ings on drainages and wa­ter­ways by be­ing firm, without com­pro­mise, adding that “It is a known prob­lem and not one over which Nige­ria should be think­ing ‘what should be done now’.”

While not­ing that waste man­age­ment was equally crit­i­cal in ad­dress­ing the is­sue of flood, he said govern­ment should strengthen the town plan­ners to do their work, with ev­ery state de­vel­op­ing its town plan­ning laws and im­ple­ment­ing them ef­fec­tively with ev­ery pro­gramme be­ing guided by En­vi­ron­men­tal Im­pact As­sess­ment and En­vi­ron­men­tal Man­age­ment Plan.

The Min­is­ter of Wa­ter Re­sources, Suleiman Adamu, , dur­ing the 2017 an­nual flood out­look by NIHSA in Abuja, had said they might not be in a po­si­tion to sud­denly ar­rest the con­se­quences but that it was for them to man­age the ex­treme events in such a man­ner that their dele­te­ri­ous ef­fects were mit­i­gated and be­came less dev­as­tat­ing.

He said, “It is the pri­mary fo­cus of my min­istry to be piv­otal in the im­prove­ment of the lives of Nige­ri­ans, through the avail­abil­ity of wa­ter that is whole­some, ad­e­quate and timely through the man­age­ment of the coun­try’s wa­ter re­sources in a sus­tain­able man­ner as well as en­sur­ing a healthy ecosys­tem.”

He added that the flow of wa­ter must be con­trolled to make it less destruc­tive, adding that the Fed­eral Govern­ment had over the years taken steps to con­trol river flows within the coun­try through con­struc­tion of dams, reser­voirs, ar­ti­fi­cial lakes amongst oth­ers but that more needed to be done.

Photo: Ke­hinde Akinyemi, Abeokuta.

Flood con­sumed ve­hi­cles at Sango Ota along the Abeokuta/La­gos road af­ter the heavy down­pour re­cently.

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