Africa’s ‘new Manhattan’ will bring positive environmental benefits
The results of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on Eko Atlantic City were revealed at a press conference held by the Lagos State Commissioner of Waterfront Development in association with representatives from the Developers South Energyx Nigeria Ltd and Royal Haskoning, the Marine Consultants for the project.
The new city, which will provide an ultra-modern commercial, financial and residential district for Lagos, is expected to generate more than 150,000 new jobs and will attract tourists and visitors from all over the world, further boosting revenue generation.
In addition to the positive social impact, there will be associated environmental benefits according to Dirk Heijboer of Royal Haskoning: “It is concluded that the project will have major positive effects in restoring and protecting the shoreline and, at the same time, minimal side effects.”
Over the past century, steadily increasing erosion of Lagos’ popular Bar Beach has begun to present a severe threat to the existence of Victoria Island, currently the financial centre of Lagos. In investigating the problem, it became clear that the coastline had originally stretched 2.5 km further out to sea.
Eko Atlantic City is an ambitious response to the erosion problem. Set to rise out of the sea on 1,000 hectares of reclaimed land, it will not only protect the fragile coast from further erosion, but will alleviate the crowded, traffic-congested conditions in Lagos. It will offer high-value residential and office space for hundreds of thousands of residents and daily commuters, as well as recreation and tourism facilities.
Royal Haskoning has been associated with Nigerian coastal and river engineering schemes for more than 50 years and was therefore a natural partner for this high-profile project. It has developed the urban and transport masterplan, infrastructure design and the social and environmental impact assessment – just unveiled - as well as being responsible for overall project management.
In producing the Environmental Impact Assessment, consultation has been important, said Dirk Heijboer. “Extensive consultations were carried out throughout the process. They started during the scoping phase with meetings with the Federal Ministry of the Environment (FME), the Lagos State Ministry of the Environment and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA). Following these sessions, consultations were expanded to cover a wider range of stakeholders and local community leaders. Consultation and liaison with relevant parties will continue.”
On the basis of the environmental impact assessment, the Nigerian Federal Ministry of the Environment gave EIA approval for Eko Atlantic reclamation works and sea wall protection in combination with established procedures for ongoing compliance.
The building of the sea defence system is already under way. Designed by Royal Haskoning, the new sea wall will stretch for more than eight kilometres to form an effective barrier that dispels the force of the waves to protect not only Eko Atlantic, but the whole of the Atlantic coastline off Victoria Island and Lagos. To date an area of more than three million square metres of land has been reclaimed.