ANAMBRA 2021: My Administration Shall Priotize Erosion Control – Dr. Ifedi Okwenna
A frontline gubernatorial aspirant under the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2021 Anambra State gubernatorial election, and the former commissioner of environment in the state Dr. Ifedi Okwenna has disclosed that erosion menace in has reached epidemic level, stressing that if elected into office as governor, his government shall review, enact and enforce the State Environmental Protection Standards and Guidelines, Assessment/Auditing Guidelines.
Speaking to newsmen on his blueprint for erosion control measures which has bedevilled some parts of the state in recent time, Dr. Okwenna who is the Director General of Save Democracy Africa said:
EROSION CONTROL AND CLIMATE CHANGE MANAGEMENT PLAN:
Soil Erosion has reached epidemic proportion in Anambra State as both fresh and old gullies adorn our homestead, farmlands, roadsides, urban centers and riverbanks. Two major factors responsible for soil erosion in the state are physical factors and human activities.
The increasing temperatures, excessive aridity, low humidity, heat wave etc. which negatively affect vegetation, farm crops, soil surfaces etc. and the increasing flood which results in fluvial erosion and submersion of riverine environment and coastlands, are all impacts of climate change.
As Commissioner for Environment under Peter Obi- led Administration in Anambra State, I was confronted with many incidences of soil erosion, sometimes as an emergency occurrence. With commitment of that government, we rose up to the challenges and eventually constructed and stabilized 16 most active erosion sites in the State, restored degraded lands in parts of the State, designed and costed the control measures for 185 active sites out of the identified 625 erosion sites in the State. The cost implication for these engineering remediations was very enormous and left a gaping hole in the lean state purse.
As government, we shall not allow these physical and anthropogenic (human) factors, that cause soil erosion and induce climate change, to continue to fester without working hard at nipping them in the bud. We shall review, enact and enforce the State Environmental Protection Standards and Guidelines, the review and enforcement of the State Environmental Impact Assessment/Auditing Guidelines and ensuring that all major construction projects, agriculture programs and other projects likely to cause adverse impact on the environment, have their EIA conducted and approval granted before such projects are commenced. All road construction projects in the state will be designed with side drains and we shall ensure that these side drains are well terminated at appropriate watersheds.
We will develop policy framework on climate change mitigation and adaptation, as well as the building of local adaptive capacity and resilience in order to reduce vulnerability to climate change and variability; Promote massive tree planting and soil conservation in the State to reduce the impact of flooding and erosion and to hold large stocks of carbon, preventing them from escape into the atmosphere.
On the operational level, we will conduct immediate survey of the State to determine the number, intensity and the magnitude of erosion risks in different parts of the state; conduct expert study and design of all major sites with containment majors spelt out. Government shall embark on the construction and control of critical erosion sites in the State using appropriate technological methods; put in place and enforce good urban management system and flood control practices including efficient waste management system to control flooding and to prevent erosion. We shall in partnership with the private sector create a Superfund to be designated for erosion control and climate change mitigation. We shall not only meet our counterpart contribution, but also promote the continuity of Federal Government/World bank assisted Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management project (NEWMAP) in our state.
Join us, let’s go to work.