PERCEIVED EFFECTS OF LAND RECLAMATION ON PEOPLES’ WELLBEING IN LEKKI ENVIRONS

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1   Background of the study

Human populations and their use of land have transformed most of the terrestrial biosphere into anthropogenic biomes (anthromes). Such transformation has caused a variety of new ecological patterns and processes to emerge and has been significant for more than 8000 years (Ellis, 2011).

Prakasam (2010) studied land use/land cover change over a period of 40 years in Kodaikanal taluk, Tamil Nadu. In this study major changes has been observed like area under built-up land and harvested land has increased whereas the area under forest and water body has decreased. Javed and Khan (2012) studied land use land cover change due to mining activities from 2001 to 2010. The study revealed that significant decrease has been observed in dense forest area, cultivated land and water body, however settlement, wasteland land and uncultivated land has increased mainly due to anthropogenic activities.

Proper utilization of land is essential to sustainable agricultural development. Land use is a function of four variables, namely, land, water, air and man. Landuse is continuously changing as a result of changes in pattern and magnitude of human activities. Food, shelter and clothing are basic needs of human being. As the land resources are limited and increasing population is facing the problem of shortage of food grains. The concept of land use capacity refers to the ability of any given  unit of land resource to produce a net return above the production cost associate with its use. The amount of this net return provides an index of landuse capacity. Land areas with high use capacity normally have higher market values than those of lower used capacity. Farmers tend to use their land resources for those purposes, which promise them the measures to provide optimum return. A land utilization project aims at striking a balance between added mouths and land use capacity. The concept of land use, therefore, revolves round the man’s accomplishments in conversion of land. Each stage of such change may involve many problems to pave the path for attaining equilibrium in use of land (Prakasam, 2010).

Land use planning can be applied at three broad levels, namely, national, district and local. These are not necessarily sequential but correspond to the levels of government at which decisions about land use are taken. Different kinds of decision are taken at each level where the methods of planning and kinds of plan also differ. However, in each level there is need for a land use strategy or policy that tackle these priorities and operational planning to get the work done.

Temmerman et al,(2013) also noted that reclamation of wetlands leads to reduced flood storage area, leading to faster and higher storm surges being propagated inland. Extensive wetland reclamation raises water levels and reduces the resistance of the wetlands to landward flood propagation.

Hardlife et al,(2014) conducted a study on the implication of the loss and degradation of wetland ecosystems on sustainable rural livelihoods of the people in Chigombe community, Zimbabwe. They stated that wetlands are areas where water is at near or above the surface of the ground, often enough for hydric soils to form and/or for wetland plants to grow. They equally opine that wetlands are a critical part of our natural habitat (environment) and provide important range of ecological and socio-economic goods and services which are vital for environmental integrity and human wellbeing. They went further to state that wetlands are the most productive ecosystems on the planet as they provide numerous products, services, functions and multiple benefits such as water purification, water storage, nutrient cycling. The relationship between man and wetlands began at the point of conflict. From prehistoric times man has viewed wetlands as wastelands, disastrous realms, custodians of diseases and obstacles to meaningful development (EPA, 2006).

In Nigeria, Ojekunle (2011) reviewed the ecology of Nigerian wetlands in order to determine the factors influencing their utilization in sustainable food production and likewise presented a design alternative for food and water re-use production. The author (Ojekunle, 2011) posits that by adopting the use of water-recycling systems, specifically waste water treatment plant and reclaimed water reservoirs; sustainable use of water could be achieved. Examining the ways the Nigerian communities can salvage wetland ecosystem to ensure sustainable fish production, Dauda (2014) also identify wetlands as one of the high valued resources which has been exposed to indiscriminate use. In the study, Dauda (2014) reviewed the term wetland, its functions and values, the importance of wetlands to and/or of fish production in Nigeria and the threat to wetlands’ sustainability in Nigeria.

According to Dauda (2014), wetlands contribute to the national and local economics by producing resources in terms of fish, fibre and water, while enabling recreational activities and providing other benefits such as climate regulation, water purification, pollution control and flood protection. Additionally, wetlands serve as sites for scientific research and discovery, education and commercial fishing, habitats and site of nutrient cycle for mammals, plants, amphibians, reptiles, birds and fishes.

 Tijani et al, (2011) highlighted the environmental impacts of urbanisation and land-use and the role both factors played in the degradation of Eleyele wetland in Ibadan. The authors concluded that Nigeria is richly blessed with both coastal and inland wetlands, many of which are threatened by anthropogenic drivers and human motivated factors such as land use activities, urbanisation and agricultural activities in addition to the emerging threats of climate change.

Ajibola et al, (2012) examine the effects of urbanisation on Lagos wetlands and were able to establish that the primary causes of wetland loss in Lagos metropolis are majorly human motivated. Such human activities listed by the researchers include incessant sand-filling and conversion of wetlands environment for economic uses, high rural-urban migration and increased dredging of wetland sites within Lagos State. This causes perennial flooding which is a common occurrence in Lagos environ has a part in the depletion and loss of the ecosystems.

Mining Industries and Mining practice in particular, are vastly known for their hazardous working conditions and the unstable nature of the earth-crust which mineral extraction causes thereby threatening the life and properties of the society (Abubaker et al, 2011). A lot of waste materials are been deposited at the mining sites which consequently pollute the environment and also the underground and the surface water of the surrounding. Solid minerals and their products have served the need of humanity from immemorial and will continue to do so perpetually. Solid minerals exploration and exploitation are related integrally with the environment. They disturb landscape, soil, surface water, underground water and air. Minerals and their products are essential, and so also is a clean environment.

There arises the need to set standards in the degree of disturbance to the environment. Any attempt to maintain a zero’ disturbance as a standard would result in ‘zero’ exploration activities, mining and processing, with ‘zero’ availability of minerals and their products to the industry. Standard that should be set must, therefore, be such that will create a reasonable compromise between these activities and the environment. Disturbance arising from dredging operations should be controlled to the barest minimum during the operations and adequately normalized thereafter (Abubaker et al, 2011).

Sea sand has become a very important mineral for the expansion of the society in terms of size. In many cases, the reasoning behind doing a dredge of an area is to keep the sediment from building up. In some waterways, for example, if too much sediment builds up, larger ships may not be able to use the waterway. In this same way, dredging can also be used to increase a channel or river’s water capacity to help relieve flooding in some areas.

There are some other reasons for dredging. Dredged up sediment and sand from the bottom of the ocean can be deposited on the beach to help rebuild the lost sand. Sand gained from dredging can also be used in land reclamation projects and other construction projects. The dredging activity pollutes the environment and the water source of the area, thereby endangering the life of people and aquatic animal in the area. Most studies conducted on the effect of mining in Nigeria showed that the landscape is continually being destroyed by mining activities by creating tunnels and excavating the soils.

Land reclamation activities have taken place over the years and are still taking place. Metropolitan Lagos including parts of Ikoyi, Lekki and Victoria Islands are former wetlands reclaimed mainly due to pressure for more Land use. Reports reveal that wetlands coverage was about 53% of the total landmass in 1965 but has shrunk to 20% at present (Lagos state Climate change policy, 2014). Most of the wetlands were lost through anthropogenic activities; such as Land Reclamation. Also, it is a common practice for places along the Lagoon to be sand filled for the purpose of erecting structures.

Obiefuna et al, (2013). researched on the changes in the wetlands of Lagos/Lekki between 1984 and 2006 and discovered the following; “Swamps decreased from 344.75km2 to 165.37 km2 and mangroves decreased from 88.51 km2 to 19.95 square kilometres, built-up areas increased from 48.97 km2 to 282.78 km2 at 10.61 km2/year; water body decreased from 685.58 km2 to 654.98 km2 at 0.16 km2/year; bare land increased from 24.32 km2 to 72.73 km2 at 2.2 km2/year; and vegetation decreased marginally from 1369.15 km2 to 1361.08 km2 at_0.37 km2/year”.

According to Mostafa (2012) Land reclamation from seas and wetlands around the world is not an entirely new practice. It entails dredging and transporting large amount of sand from the sea-bed to create an artificial land for infrastructural and industrial development.  He observed that Land reclamation causes floods and erosion, reduced quality of sea water and loss of fish species and sea biota. Usually, both the reclamation site and dredging site undergo biological, physical and chemical impacts (Mostafa, 2012). Hence, the undertaking of this research study was designed to investigate perceived effects of land reclamation on peoples’ wellbeing in Lekki environs.

1.2     Statement of the Problem

Land reclamation practices in Lagos metropolis has benefited immensely from hydraulic sand filling technology, imported through the avenues of globalisation, the technology has made large areas of reclaimed lands available, from previously uninhabitable, marshy and coastal lands (Ajibola et al, 2012). The lands obtained through this means require greater maintenance attention than naturally occurring lands, so as to prevent excessive degradation.  Insufficient attention paid to reclamation management of these lands, has led to serviceability problems. Most public owned reclaimed lands do not have any post-construction management, maintenance budgets are generally regarded as insufficient. Drainage problems, flooding, general wetness of top surrounding soil are ranked as the most pertinent consequences of lack of maintenance. Outright neglect, delay in executing repairs, lack of maintenance policy, materials and equipments are seen as factors responsible for the impaired serviceability. Ajibola et al,(2012 )  also identify several effects of economic activities on land reclamation  in Lagos and the impacts that urbanisation had on the region. Direct habitat loss, suspended solid additions, hydrologic changes, altered water quality, increase runoff volumes, diminished infiltration, reduced stream based flows and groundwater supply, and lengthy dry periods according to this study are the resultant effects of urbanisation in Lagos. This research was designed to examine the perceived effects of land reclamations on people wellbeing in Lekki environments (Ajibola et al, 2012 ) .

1.3     Purpose of the Study

To achieve the aim of the study, the following objectives were pursued: -

       i.            To determine if outbreak of diseases can be perceived as an effect of land reclamation

     ii.            To examine if flooding is perceived as an effect of land reclamation on peoples’ wellbeing in Lekki environs

  iii.            To find out whether loss of property is perceived as an effect of land reclamation on peoples’ wellbeing

  iv.            To determine if biodiversity loss is seen as an effect of land reclamation on peoples’ wellbeing in Lekki environs.

1.4     Research Questions

To achieve the aim and objectives of the study the following questions and hypotheses were raised:

a.     Will outbreak of diseases be perceived as an effect of land reclamation?

b.     Will flooding be perceived as an effect of land reclamation on peoples’ wellbeing?

c.      Will loss of property be perceived as an effect of land reclamation on peoples’ wellbeing?

d.     Will biodiversity loss be an effect of land reclamation on peoples’ wellbeing in Lekki environs?

1.5     Research hypotheses

1.       Will outbreak of diseases be perceived as an effect of land reclamation?

2.       Will flooding be perceived as an effect of land reclamation on peoples’    wellbeing?

3.       Will loss of property be perceived as an effect of land reclamation on       peoples’           wellbeing?

4.       Will biodiversity loss be an effect of land reclamation on peoples’ wellbeing in           Lekki environs?