TOWARDS A FLOOD FREE LAGOS
In Lagos, the rainy season could be dreadful. Being an island surrounded by various sizes of water bodies, from Lagos lagoon to different beaches scattered around the state, Lagos’ peculiar geographical status has far-reaching flooding implications on the metropolis. Its topography, which makes it essentially a low lying terrain up to 0.4 per cent below the sea level, is another critical issue. Naturally, this brings about a huge flooding challenge.
However, in as much as flooding is natural phenomenon, some human activities aggravate it. The common practice of building houses near rivers and other bodies of water (that is, within natural floodplains) has contributed to the disastrous consequences of floods.
In Lagos State, the building of houses near rivers and beaches is fast becoming a fad among the elite. These edifices usually come in the way of free flow of water whenever there are downpours. Also, the houses often come with poor drainage channels connecting them to the bigger canals and water channels.
Similarly, poor and nonchalant waste disposal habit is a major cause of flooding in the state. It is common sight to see people empty huge sacks of refuse in the drainage whenever it rains. In addition, commuters in both private and commercial vehicles have formed the habit of throwing papers and sundry waste products through the windows of moving vehicles; this garbage ends up in gutters and other drainage channels after being blown away by the wind.
Furthermore, despite the designation of the last Saturday of every month as the general environmental sanitation day in the state, some residents still defy this directive by not utilising this period appropriately. And to make matters worst, some cart pushers, illegal waste agents being patronized by some residents, dump the refuse they have been paid to dispose of in canals and large drainage channels. This act often results in the blockage of free flow of waste water, resulting in flooding whenever it rains, irrespective of the magnitude. This is often rampant in markets and other commercial centres. If only the perpetrators of these acts are aware of the consequences of their action! Most times, the effect of flooding on the affected residents are unquantifiable and devastating.
The menace of flooding has rendered many people homeless, while not a few landlords have been stripped of their only investments. Invariably, this has contributed immensely to the upsurge in the level of social problems in the society.
There is an increase in the army of homeless, which has resulted in overcrowding in houses, all in attempts to play good neighbours and take these people in. Also, it is not uncommon to see some senior citizens begging for alms to keep bodies and souls together, when their only investments have been destroyed by flooding. Infrastructure such as roads are not spared as a result of this menace of flooding. Many roads have been destroyed and affected communities cut off from the rest of state. This has affected economic, academic and social activities in these communities. As the rainy season continues, all hands must be on deck to ensure that all humanly induced actions that promote flooding are discontinued.
More so, people should be enlightened about the enormity of the danger posed by flooding and need to stop every human induced action that results in flooding.