Abuja – Mr Femi Akingbade, a former Director in the Nigeria Mining Corporation (NMC), on Wednesday in Abuja warned that people living around quarries risked health hazards and damage to property.
Akingbade who is a geologist told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the crude methods adopted by construction companies to blast rocks was harmful to residents.
“Explosions can cause heavy vibration and this consequently affects buildings around the environment.
“But most construction companies in the country do not comply with environmental laws, especially the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Act,’’ he said.
The geologist claimed that the companies did not mind the effect of their activities on the environment.
“It is only in the oil and gas sector that we see companies striving to comply with the EIA Act.
“The construction companies in Nigeria are only interested in contracts, bulldozing the forests, contaminating the water, produce gaseous emissions and pollute the environment,’’ he said.
Akingbade said no country in the world witnesses the level of environmental pollution being perpetrated by construction companies in Nigeria.
“They engage in mass blasting of rocks, excavation of soil and the generation of dust from quarry, which are all detrimental to people’s health,’’ he said.
The geologist said chemical compound such as mercury fulminate was being used in blasting dynamite and it could be ignited either by a burning fuse or a spark.
“Quarrying, mining, foundation excavating and other activities involving the use of dynamite on a considerable scale have always caused damage to people’s property, especially residents within the area of such operation.
“Some of such damages can be broken windows, cracked foundations and cracked wall plaster.
“Apart from this, there is also noise, which is not conducive to brain work, as well as disturbance from rest and air pollution, which are injurious to the respiratory system.
“People with asthma problem can also have their health situation worsened by this,’’ he said.
Akingbade however said a modern approach of minimising the effects of blasting in a residential environment was being developed in advanced countries.
“Some countries have worked out mathematical formulae to predict the probable area of damage and intensity of shock with reasonable accuracy.
“Also, anti-seismic wallpaper can minimise the effect of blasting, but this is for now unfamiliar to us in Nigeria and costly,’’ he said.
The former NMC official then called for adequate tree planting to absorb the dust emanating from blasting operation and reduce its hazardous effect.
He also appealed to the operators of quarries to minimise the hazards of their operation on the people and the environment by adopting the proper control measures.(NAN)