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Stakeholders to retrieve Anambra erosion site

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By Timothy Akintola

Stakeholders plan to reclaim precarious erosion site in Urunnebo, Anambra state.

Huge concerns have been expressed over the deterioration of lands in Anambra State, where gully Erosion has affected over 70 percent of the landmass in the state, whilst also threatening the lives and properties of the residents in the affected areas. The state’s Commissioner for Environment, Engineer Felix Odumegwu recently raised this concern at the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) -Implementation Completion and Result Report Mission (ICRM), where he advised of the current situation of this site as intensely precarious, stating that the erosion sites across the state have been put at over 1000, by the state’s Minister of Works.

He further maintained that while the state has the second highest population in Nigeria, it continues to face existential menaces due to the land-threatening cases of erosion. Statistically, Anambra state possesses the most active numbers of erosion cases in the country. Most of these erosion cases are reported to be mostly caused by man-induced activities that has made the soil really weak and susceptible. While there had been previous experiments at curbing these erosion cases, it focused hugely on the post-erosion management which were procured after lands had been destroyed. The Minister however pleaded with stakeholders to also help in curbing this menace.

Climate change, one of the issues to cause environmental degradation.

However, stakeholders have stepped up attempts to reclaim the erosion site around Urunnebo, Enugwu-Ukwu community of the state by planting numerous trees around the area. A measure has been established with the aim of salvaging this land-threatening menace, regarded as “Forest Restoration”, a project organized by the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) partnering with the Anambra State’s Ministry of Environment, Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP), as well as the Community Resource Management and Conservation Initiative (CRMCI). This project is also supported by ATC Nigeria Wireless Infrastructure Limited.

Reporting on the state of the Urunnebo, Enugwu-Ukwu site, NFC Programs Development Officer, Joshua Dazi, stated that the Climate Change was one basic issue that have recurrently caused Environmental Degradation in these communities, due to the fact that over 95 percent of the forest areas had been lost. The forest areas had been so immense in protecting the soil from natural and man-made activities that weakens the soil and cause it to run off velocity. He declared that the project was aimed at creating an awareness for people to understand the need for environmental restoration, as they work towards retrieving erosion-affected areas in the state.

Residents must help this problem by nursing and protecting trees.

He further asserted that the Forest Restoration project is set to commence with the plantation of over 3600 trees; 1000 trees at Urunnebo and the Nweni Icho site, projected to take about 2,600 trees. Numerous trees like the bread fruit, Melina, Pea and Udara are set to be planted along the erosion control channel. This is designed to help salvage the issue of recurrent erosions in these communities, as well as provide economic vibrancy in the state, as these economic trees will be accrued to serve Basic Needs like food, whilst also being sold for money.

Dazi, has however implored the residents to be helpful in this fight for reclaiming the erosion sites by nursing and protecting the trees, as it will extremely go a long way in saving the environments from impending erosion threats. With these trees, rainfalls which causes splash erosion will be intercepted and stopped. These trees will also help in the reduction of water in the soil by transpiration, where their roots bind the soil to sloping ground.

Trees will create important vegetation cover and needed erosion control.

Also, the President General of the Urunnebo community, Sir Greg Egenti commented that the erosions did cost so many residents their properties, with houses and structures intensely damaged or collapsed. He averred that the project to reclaim the erosion sites commenced in 2016, whilst also appreciating Anambra state government, world bank, NCF amongst others for their quotas towards salvaging this erosion menace. Professor Nnadube further commented that the planting of trees would create important vegetation cover and needed erosion control in these areas by conserving the soil. Mrs. Okeke, an ex executive member of the women wing in the community also recommended this effort, asserting that the trees will be hugely beneficial to the residents of these environments.


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