THE EFFECT OF STONE QUARRYING ON HOUSING IN OKIGWE LGA
Within the last decade, environmental concerns have gained prominence throughout the world. Several international protocols have been established by the global community to deal with the emerging environmental issues. In Kenya, these global changes coincided with the enactment of the Environmental Management and Coordination Act (1999) the law that governs environmental issues in the country. The Act established the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) which, among other functions, monitors and evaluates development activities to ensure there is no threat to environmental stability. Activities, such as quarrying in urban areas become significant in this respect.
Quarrying is a huge supporter of local economic development; it enhances trade, creating jobs for people annually, creating new habitats sometimes new roads are built, first to transport the machines and then extracted materials which are then left to be used by residents. Most people in quarrying regions wholly depend on these quarrying for their livelihoods aside from other economic activities.
Environmental hazards resulting from quarrying activities dates back to 1890’s (BGS, 2010). The main issues of concern include visual impairment, damage to landscapes, traffic, smoke, noise, dust, damage to caves, loss of land, and deterioration in water quality (Iqbal and Shafig, 2001; Mate, 1992; Montgomery, 1992). Of major concern is blasting, which is required to break down the rocks into aggregates. Environmental safety laws and edicts have been adopted by governments of several nations to protect the environment from hazards related to quarrying activities. However, operators of quarries, most especially in developing nations have abused these laws either to maximize profit or simply due to blithe attitude. Such abuse is permeating in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.
Quarrying is a very important activity in human life as it helps in the development of infrastructure such as roads in a given area. The quarrying activities that are carried out by man affect our environment in one way or the other. Both physical and the biological environment are affected by these activities. The effect to the environment in most cases is usually negative that is: it cause harm to the environment. The study tried to identify how quarrying activities in Nairobi affects the environment and the people working in or living near the quarries.