Many streams, rivers and floodplains in Akwa Ibom State have abundant quantities of sand and gravel that are mined conveniently and economically for a variety of uses such as road construction, building of houses, land reclamations, construction of artificial islands and coastline stabilization. Therefore, the demand for sand is on the increase in Akwa Ibom State. The activities of sand mining, if not sustainably manage have great potential for disrupting the natural environment. Environmental problems occur when the rate of extraction of sand, gravel and other materials exceeds the rate at which natural processes generate these materials. (Pielou, 1966).
The Physical impacts of sand mining include reduction of water quality and destabilization of the stream bed and banks. Mining can also disrupts sediment supply and channel form, which can result in a deepening of the channel (incision) as well as sedimentation of habitats downstream. Channel instability and sedimentation from in stream mining can also damage public infrastructure (bridges, pipelines, and utility lines). Impacts to the biological resources include removal of infauna, epifauna, and some benthic fishes and alteration of the available substrate. This process can also destroy riverine vegetation, cause erosion, pollute water sources and reduce the diversity of animals supported by these woodlands habitats (Byrnes and Hiland, 1995).
Considering the importance of the environment in sustainable economic activities, it becomes expedient that proper environmental management should be given high priority before the implementation of sand mining activity. Read more...