MICHAEL Okonkwo, commissioner for environment, has directed Anambra State Ministry of Environment to embark on identifying and sealing off of illegal mining sites in the state.
These include people mining of sand, stones and laterite.
Okonkwo made this public during the sealing of some evacuation sites at Nkwelle-Ezunaka.
The commissioner added that Governor Willie Obiano had directed that indiscriminate mining and excavation in the state must be stopped.
He explained that a committee had been set up to check and determine places good enough for mining and to regulate such operations in the state.
“Erosion menace ravaging the state has been linked to individuals and companies excavating and mining illegal sites without observing Environmental Impact Assessment, EIA, or having remedial measures for such sites.
“All excavation sites in the state will be sealed, until the owners/ managers identify with the government to prove that their sites are duly approved by Anambra State Government, and the sites are appropriate for mining,” he said.
Okonkwo lamented the damages already done to many sites that had also affected individuals and government’s property, describing such acts as `unfair and unacceptable’.
He cautioned that those who fail to adhere to government’s order would be prosecuted accordingly.
Stanley Nkwoka, senior special assistant, SSA, to governor on Environment, said that excavation was very important for buildings and road construction in the state, but should be regulated to curb excesses.