ByÂ Chidi Nkwopara
OWERRIâ€”Imo State Government says it had identified more than 400 serious erosion sites in the state, even as it lamented that about 80 of these erosion sites were engineered by the citizens.
The Commissioner for Petroleum and Environment, Dr. Aloysius Aguwa, who disclosed this at an interactive session with sand excavators and landlords along the banks of Otamiri River, however, warned that government would no longer allow anything that would further degrade the environment.
â€œFurther mining is now restricted along the banks of River Otamiri at Nekede and Owerri Municipal excavation sites. Buildings are now seriously threatened with possible loss of lives,â€ the Commissioner said.
He was of the opinion that while government was not interested in destroying any citizenâ€™s means of livelihood, what the excavators were doing should not destroy the environment.
â€œA critical evaluation of the excavation sites will show that a lot of damage had been done to the environment. What we all need to do now is to fashion a way of minimizing and repairing the damage done to the environment,â€ he said.
He added that government had ordered geologists and engineers to move into the affected area to study and come out with sound short and medium term plans to tackle the menace.