Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

Impacts of Derived Tin Mining Activities on Landuse/Landcover in Bukuru, Plateau State, Nigeria

Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

Impacts of Derived Tin Mining Activities on Landuse/Landcover in Bukuru, Plateau State, Nigeria

Article excerpt

Abstract

Tin mining activity which was a predominant activity around the Jos Plateau has caused considerable erosion damages to landuse/landcover. Uncontrolled effects through monitored activities do not protect future environmental security. This paper therefore, assesses impact of derived mining activities on landuse/ landcover in Bukuru area in Jos south of Nigeria to determine the extent of degraded mine lands. A time series analysis of Landsat MSS satellite image November 1975, Landsat TM satellite image acquired in 1989, and Landsat ETM acquired October 2005 of the study area were used. Landuse/ landcover were classified from the images using a hybrid manual and spectral based approach. The result shows that out of the 1,574.13sq.km total size of the study area, the degraded area/land, Built-up area, and water bodies increased by 24.58%, 18.51% and 7.57% respectively. Whereas Arable land (farm and grazing land) and forest reserve has decreased by 106.60sq.km (14.16%), and 264.89sq. (35.18%) respectively. It was recommended that comprehensive mitigation studies against these damages should be performed, and regular inspections should be executed to keep these activities of tin mining under control. Modern technologies should be used to obtain more effective results from these studies.

Keywords: landuse/landcover change, urban ecological degradation, deforestation, geospatial analysis

1. Introduction

Human spatial curiosity, systematic field study and quality management of available natural resources are widely recognized as essential components of planning and developmental process in the contemporary society. Mining activity which was a predominant activity around the Jos Plateau has evident from the fact that the southern part of the area is surrounded by many mining and pilot ponds. Mining and processing has led to socio-economic and infrastructural development of the area, with major negative impacts on biophysical and hydrological environments. Similar negative impacts are widespread in most other small-scale, largely illegal mining areas in Nigeria. The importance of the environment to sustainable development in any society is not in doubt. There must be a healthy, rich and adequately protected environment in order to have a healthy, prosperous society. The environment provides the foundation for all development efforts in the country. Its close linkages with the major sectors of the economy are readily discernible from the fact that agricultural productivity and subsequently food security cannot be guaranteed in a degraded environment because of declining soil fertility due to mining.

Tin mining and processing constitute a source of pollution to the environment (Adiuku et al., 1991) because with tin the accessory minerals associated are harmful even to human beings and animals at low concentrations. The mining of tin facilitates the release of radioactive minerals from the host rocks into the environment.

The degradation of the mining region is often thought of in terms of the extent of land coverage affected by mining activities. Research has shown that the total land affected by actual mining is not more than 3% of the Jos Plateau (Sumaila, 1989).

The impacts of mining activities on the study area are immense. Uncontrolled effects through monitored activities do not protect future environmental security. Erosion by water is the most common form of soil degradation, causing loss of soil nutrients, organic matter and damage to soil physical properties and standing crops. A prudent society conserves her mineral deposits by monitoring through proper planning and mining in such a manner as to maximize the benefits.

Tin mining activities which have caused considerable erosion damages to lands arising from active gully equal to 7,240km in length (Sumaila, 1993). Apart from tin mining, it is obvious that such human activities like construction of highways, rail roads, pipelines, airport, industrial sites, sanitary landfills, dam reservoirs, timber harvesting, bush burning and grazing have potential and adverse effects on the environment. …

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