Reclaiming undesirable or useless land and using it for a constructive or advantageous purpose is known as land reclamation. In other words, it is a technique for converting a wasteland into a suitable area for habitation, society, commerce, and industry.
It is quite typical in Nigeria’s southern regions, where there appears to be lots of lands, particularly around the beach. Due to its considerable contribution to the current and future well-being of the environment, land reclamation in Nigeria is significant and of great value. Land reclamation, which aims to convert unused land into usable land, aids in increasing the amount of land available for development, providing habitat for wildlife, enhancing the quality of life for people, and converting unused land into areas suitable for residential, commercial, and industrial use. Different techniques, like sand filling and drainage construction, can be used in Nigeria to reclaim the land.
Methods of land reclamation
Depending on the type of land, the fill material, the foundation soil, the topography of the seabed, the presence of fine material, etc., a variety of various methods can be used for land reclamation.
1. dry Methods
The maybe easiest approach entails “infilling,” or filling the appropriate area with clay, other dirt, massive, heavy rocks, or cement, then building up to the required height level. However, during seismic activity, this technique may be susceptible to soil liquefaction. This approach typically produces a loose profile of fill when granular soil is utilized as the fill material, hence densifying the reclaimed ground may be necessary.
2. hydraulic reclaiming technique
This wet approach is only appropriate for granular soil with adequate drainage properties when fill material is acquired from an offshore borrow source. Fill material is often transported from the borrow source to the site location by a bottom-opening barge. This works best on a seafloor that is 6–8 meters deep. The amount of bottom-opening barges employed and the distance between the borrow sources and the site location will determine the reclamation production rate.
3. Rehandling approach
This entails dumping fill material into a temporary storage pit with a capacity of several million cubic meters while being transported by barges. The rehandling pit is typically placed in a natural depression on a hard seabed or built there through dredging.
4. Hydraulic filling
This approach is appropriate for granular fill and is typically employed when filling is done from an offshore source, such as a trailer suction hopper dredger or a rehandling pit.
Dredged fill material is pumped via a discharge pipe at the site location, typically with a fill material and water mixture that is regulated for grain size. It is often possible to pump directly from the borrow source to the site for distances of up to 10 kilometers.
When the bottom is too shallow or the soil is too soft, this procedure is not appropriate.
5. Sand Spreading
This method is used when there is a shallow seabed or the seabed soil is too soft for hydraulic filling. A small floating barge is equipped with a spreader, and sand and water are discharged through holes in the pipe. The spreader uses a winch system and a bulldozer to move from one end of the site to the other.
Why Land Reclamation is important in Nigeria
1. Tourism potential
Land reclamation is important in Nigeria because it encourages tourism, which brings in money for the government. Reclaimed land is occasionally used for leisure activities like the construction of national parks, which are popular tourist destinations.
These tourism destinations draw visitors from all around the nation and even from beyond. These individuals spend money when they go to these facilities. The government then uses this money to upgrade the infrastructure where it is weak. Land reclamation thus encourages tourism.
2. Increased land mass
In Nigeria, one of the importance of land reclamation is that it helps to increase land mass. When certain land is reclaimed, it, therefore, increases the area for human occupancy. The monetary value of the properties would be relatively low in areas with a lot of damaged land, drastically lowering the quality of living conditions for those who reside there. By raising the monetary value of the properties nearby, land reclamation works to improve the quality of the area and bring it back to its former glory.
Land reclamation creates extra land for the new development of quality residential buildings as well as other developments, whether industrial or commercial.
3. It is possible to create artificial islands and industrial zones through land reclamation.
The ability to use land reclamation in Nigeria to build artificial islands where none previously existed is another benefit of this practice. Banana Island, Ikoyi, Lagos, Gracefield Island, Lekki, Lagos, The Eko Atlantic, Victoria Island, and Lagos are a few examples of man-made islands in Nigeria. To expand the number of high-quality residential places available, these regions were developed. They are the location of numerous businesses and industries.
The Dangote Refinery, which is situated in the Lekki free trade zone in Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos, is another illustration of a region that has been reclaimed in Nigeria. More land is made accessible for development in certain locations. It is possible to construct more structures and infrastructure to support economic growth, increase housing options, and ease traffic and population growth. This is due to the necessity to recover land that was previously covered by water as the human population grows.
Because there are businesses and industries in these locations, the development of such areas also creates work for Nigerians, lowering the unemployment rate in the nation. This is true because manufacturers locate new industries in reclaimed lands and generate trade and other commercial activity there.
4. Helps to bring back wildlife
The land is recovered in Nigeria to make habitats for wildlife. Various wildlife uses are made of reclaimed land. This is yet another crucial function that land reclamation serves in Nigeria.
It is well known that the majority of our woods have been cut down for a variety of reasons, forcing these wild animals to lose their habitat. These creatures are in danger of going extinct due to the development of urbanization. Thus, it is possible to reclaim land and develop habitats for these wild creatures. This might be akin to a game reserve where they are looked after and safeguarded.
5. Helps with food production
The improvement of agricultural activities that result from land reclamation helps to ensure food security in Nigeria, which is another benefit. For example, agricultural activities such as swamp rice production are normally encouraged where land has been reclaimed. The species of rice cultivated on reclaimed land are usually salt tolerant.
Another agricultural activity that can be done on the recovered ground is fish aquaculture. Fish pond construction is primarily encouraged in these places. It is also possible to turn swampy areas into farmland that can be used for crop development. By supplying food for the populace, all of these agricultural operations that take place in these locations contribute to the country’s overall food security.
6. Land reclamation creates space for grazing and protects the wildlife
Land reclamation produces grazing land for animals in Nigeria. Ruminant animals including goats, cows, sheep, and cattle graze on some of the land that has been restored for agriculture. Consequently, one might claim that land reclamation gives ruminant animals food.
In some locations, once the land has been reclaimed from waterlogged areas, water is typically saved. Such protected water typically acts as a natural wildlife preserve, supplying food for aquatic species.
In Summary: Importance of land reclamation in Nigeria
- Increase in available land
- Recovered land can be used for agricultural activities like marsh cultivation
- Water that remains following land reclamation is typically pure enough to be used for home or industrial uses.
- Reclaimed land is occasionally used for leisure activities, such as national parks for tourists.
- In various regions of the country, reclaimed ground is frequently used for wildlife purposes.
- Land reclamation does lead to high quality of the environment as such land is free from water encroachment.
- Ruminant animals including goats, sheep, and cattle also graze on reclaimed land.
The technique of generating new land artificially is known as land reclamation. This is accomplished by either draining muddy areas or by filling in already-existing bodies of water like oceans, seas, and riverbeds. Reclaimed land, reclaimed ground, or landfill are all terms used to describe the newly formed land as a result of this.