The World Igbo Environmental Foundation (WIEF) has said there were over 2,800 active erosion sites threatening to sack most communities in the South East of Nigeria from their ancestral lands.
Chairman of the Foundation, Dr. Odili Ojukwu, made this assertion in an interview with newsmen, in Awka, on Wednesday.
Ojukwu, an engineer, advocated community participation in the management and protection of the environment from erosion.
He blamed the prevalence of gully erosion on faulty road construction and drainage systems, adding that people must ensure development activities in their areas do not result to erosion.
“There are over 1,000 active erosion sites in Anambra, 300 in Imo, 500 in Abia, 500 in Enugu and 500 in Ebonyi states. We tried to establish the causes of erosion and gully issues within the South East and South South region; these are the areas most exposed to erosion.
“So, if you aggregate it, you will discover that the entire region is at risk of losing its ancestral land. WIEF is saying every community has the right to protect its environment; nobody should come into your land to destroy it, unless you allow them.
“Communities need to take ownership of their environment; that is what will enable them see potential erosions and check it, to prevent them from becoming gullies.
“Climate change is also a factor, but, that is after all the anthropogenic issues have been taken care of; that is, all human effect on vegetations must be limited,” he said.
Ojukwu, an environmental consultant, underscored need for a holistic approach to addressing the erosion menace.