Disaster awaits Kwara if illegal mining persists, says UNILORIN Don
In 2017, Kwara State had the highest record of illegal mining activities in Africa, according to media reports. Four years after, there seems to be no end in sight for the ‘life-endangering’ business.
But considering the rate at which unregulated mining activities are thriving in the State, Dr. Muyiwa Michael Orosun, said residents of the State, will soon experience terrible affliction if the activities are not controlled.
“As lucrative as mining is, it has become a major source of pollution, due to the lack of appropriate regulatory policies in the country,” he asserted.
According to Orosun, educating the locals about harmful mining practices using scientific figures and facts, spurred him to research on “Assessment of Arsenic and its Associated Health Risks due to Mining Activities in Parts of North-central Nigeria.”
He recalled that in 2010, over 17,000 individuals were poisoned, with about 500 children dying from lead poisoning in Zamfara State, due to the activities of artisanal gold miners.
“As if that ordeal is not enough to teach Nigerians lesson, five years after the Zamfara outbreak, another poisoning was experienced in Niger State, where over 2,500 children got poisoned by lead in 2015,” said Oruson, a don at the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN).
According to him, there are 13 mining sites in Oyun, Patigi, Offa, Edu, Asa, Irepodun, Ilorin-South, Ifelodun, Moro, Oke-Ero, and Ilorin-West local governments, where illegal mining activities are rife in the State.
The physics lecturer, further disclosed that mining is the primary cause of poisoning from toxic metals such as lead.
He stated: “Existing legislations in respect of public health and environmental protection worldwide are based on researches like this one that assesses the concentrations of these toxic chemical contaminants and their associated health effects, particularly the ones that resides in our waterways and food chain.
“More so, risk assessment has been proven to be an effective scientific contrivance which enables decision makers and law enforcers to manage sites so contaminated in a cost-effective modus while conserving the ecosystem and public health.
“It is recommended that detailed and periodic investigation of the concentration of Arsenic and other heavy metals should be carried out and statutory requirements for mining of minerals in Kwara and the country at large should be enforced in accordance with international regulations.”