Effects of Open Cast Quarrying Technique on Vegetation Cover and the Environment in South-Eastern Nigeria

  • Angela Akanwa O Centre for Environmental Management and Control (CEMAC), University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu Campus, Enugu State
  • Faustina Onwuemesi E Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Department of Environmental Management, Nnamdi Azikwe University, (NAU), Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria
  • Gladys Chukwurah O Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Department of Urban and Regional Planning University, of Nigeria Nsukka, Enugu Campus, Enugu State, Nigeria
  • Maurice Officha C Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Department of Architecture, , Nnamdi Azikwe University, (NAU), Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria
Keywords: Open cast, environment, quarrying activities, principal component analysis, vegetation cover, landscape and degradation.

Abstract

Quarrying activities happen to cause huge losses in land and vegetation cover due to the fact that its operations are usually on a large scale and the sites are abandoned after the resources have become depleted. This study examined the open cast quarrying technique and also the spatial pattern of the quarrying activities and their locations in the study area. Direct field measurement was utilized for the study using a Surveyors tape to measure the lateral extent of degraded land. Garmin eTrex GPS receiver was used to obtain the co˗ordinates of the quarry sites. Geographical Information System and Global Positioning System were used for producing a map of the area and fixing the geographic positions of the locations of the quarry sites respectively. The data so collected were collated and analysed for 27 quarry locations selected from six local government areas where quarrying activities are heavily concentrated and currently active. The result of the study obtained from the principal component analysis showed that there is a significant pattern in the quarrying activities and their locations with explained variance of (82.91 %). The spatial pattern and locations of the quarrying activities in the study area showed: Ohaukwu (11), Ivo (2), Ishielu (1), Ezza North (5), Afikpo North (4) and Izzi (4).The parameters that described the pattern of quarrying activities were:  the area of pit covered (0.91), percentage of quarrying area (0.93), numbers of pit covered (0.83), and villages involved (0.64).  The study also revealed that the total area of vegetation cover destroyed was 402.855 hectares. Field measurements showed that the percentages of land lost in the local government areas were quarrying activities are intensified are as follows: Ohaukwu 28.7%, Ishielu 9.3%, Ivo 35.2%, Afikpo North 14. 7%, Ezza  North 8.0% and Izzi 3.7%. The study recommended that the Government and public agencies concerned should develop and enforce policies and strategies to achieve a balanced, coordinated and sustainable development in the State.

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Published
2016-07-14
Section
Articles