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Forestalling erosion and flood disasters

When the rains begin to set in times like this our hearts jump to our tongues for fear of flood and erosion incidences that may…

When the rains begin to set in times like this our hearts jump to our tongues for fear of flood and erosion incidences that may come with it. More so, predictions by NIMET are high that there will be floods in some states this year.

While erosion starts with gradual soil detachments degenerating into rills and gullies, flood occurs as a result of the gradual buildup of runoffs overflowing its natural boundaries cascading into open lands and submerging settlement areas. The resultant effects are: land degradation loss of farmlands, wealth, lives and properties. 

The causative factors are and not limited to environmental abuses, soil nature, slope gradient, veracity of rainfalls and effects of climate changes.

The aggravating factors are natural and human. The natural factors are always there being the creation of nature usually beyond human control, but the human factors can be redefined and conceptualised to mitigate erosion and flood. As can be observed in the morphological formations of landforms: the hilly, the plain, the Pedi-plain, sloppy and lowlands.

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Erosion menaces are more prevalent on slopping terrains and flood incidences are more associated with low and gradually levelled denudations. Water as an agent of soil detachment and translocation accelerates faster upstream bringing more materials downstream to accumulate and build up. This continuous build-up causes it to overflow its boundaries and spillways thereby, forcing it to pull down or submerge structures along its course;  agreeing with the fact that, if you don’t create a way for water, water will definitely find its way.

It is on this background that it has become pertinent to adopt and apply the necessary proactive, preventive and obviously practical measures to avert the negative consequences.

Therefore, it is important to key into the basic biological control practices of encouraging the planting of shade plants and green covers in our environments and homes to promote soil-water intake, and plant-water intake thereby increasing infiltration and reducing runoff volumes.

Every step has to be taken to reduce land cover by concrete jungles where mass concretes are laid in forecourts by construction companies, where little or no water absorption takes place while all the water volumes are pushed to buildup high runoffs down slope resulting in erosion and flood.

The practices of dumping refuse in drainage or scooping out wastes from the drainage to the roadside which are eventually washed back into the drains are uncivilised and unethical. It should be avoided. The best practice is the continuous desilting of drainage lines.

A comprehensive drainage and canal structures should be included in urban and regional plans for urban renewals that could contain flood waters.

There should be deliberate efforts to prevent or pull down structures on flood corridors by the relevant government agencies.

The basic principles of environmental practices should be inculcated in youths and school curricula for early adoption and assimilation.

There is an urgent need for the government to immediately carry out the dredging of rivers Benue and Niger to accommodate more volumes of water from the subsidiary tributaries.  More dams should be constructed along the Benue River as receptor dams for overflows from the Lagbo dam on the Cameroun Mountains 

The unholy diversion of ecological funds by some state executives should be properly investigated and put in check with the funds redirected to the appropriate quarters to address the much-demanding ecological matters.

The National Assembly should promulgate a law establishing erosion and flood (E & F) vanguards in all the council wards that will observe, report and check any slight development of erosion menace or a surging flood. The ecological and other derivable funds could form part of its funding. A stitch in time, they say, saves nine.

Any ecological imbalance and environmental degradation is always a calamity brewing, if not properly handled can lead to structural decay, poor health and early deaths.

This is, therefore, a national call to a new awakening to address erosion and flood disasters through proper funding, enactment of relevant laws, conscious environmental redress, observation of flood early warning signals and application of standard conservation measures to save our natural resources, land and people.


George M. Ebah is with Environmental Field Studies

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