Waterways authority issues new guidelines to sand dredgers
Concerned over environmental sustainability with regards to private commercialized dredging of the waterways, the Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has read out the riot act to operators of dredging businesses in Lagos State.
The risks posed by dredging activities to the environment as well as human life both in the immediate and long-term equation was the burning issue when stakeholders of the sector met, Thursday, at a meeting for dredging operators.
Under the new rules, Environmental Impact Assessment (E.I.A.) and Bathymetric / Sand Search Reports must be conducted before permits can be issued, while dredging and all floating equipment must have valid Annual Survey and Operational Permits from NIWA.
“Even as reclamation projects should not commence until all requisite documentations are observed and approval granted and sand being transported out of site must be adequately covered.
“Dredging operations must not obstruct navigational activities along waterways and pipes should be properly marked out and sunk in water for the safety of others on the waterways,” according to NIWA’s Area Manager, Mr. Muazu Sambo.
Furthermore, permits are not transferable and approved sites must not exceed the delineated area prescribed by the perimeter survey submitted.
Sambo was emphatic in his resolve to stamp out sharp practices in the dredging of the waterways as he handed down new sets of rules and regulations to guide the sector on April 14, 2014.
The set of 18 rules titled: ‘Guidelines for Dredging Operations in Lagos State’ spelt out the rules with regards to all aspects of dredging activities such as the positioning of dredgers in the water, how many dredgers to be deployed at a time, the mode of transportation reclamation projects and penalties to be imposed on defaulters.
Sambo’s words: “Dredging should be carried out in a sane manner and with consideration for the environment. Dredgers are not pepper sellers, so there should be strict adherence to the rules and regulations that guide the trade as everything you do have the direct and indirect impact on the environment and human life. So, I have worked out certain guidelines that are coming into effect from today”.
The rules include “dredge machines must be spaced at a minimum distance of 500meters away from each other, the permissible distance of dredge machines from the shoreline must not be less than 500 meters (this he said is to prevent erosion of the shorelines), while a single dredge machine will only be allowed per stockpiling site.
“In addition, the Chinese dredge system shall comprise of one master dredge machine, three transporters and one booster pump device.”
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