A total of 2,000 people have signed an online petition to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to investigate and remediation Osun River which has been polluted by mining activities.
The petition which was initiated by a civil society group, Urban Alert, started on April 5, 2022 and is targeted at getting 2500 signatories.
Tagged ‘#Save Osun River: Investigate Osun River’s Contamination and Colour Change’, the petition has been getting attention of environmental activists, lovers of nature and other concerned people.
The introductory part of the petition reads: “Sometimes in 2018, water in the Osun River began to wear a scary brown colour. Initially, residents thought the change is as a result of flooding which will only be a temporary issue, but Osun River has changed from its precious colourless appearance to brown till date.
“This change in colour which implies that the river has been contaminated has exposed communities that rely on the river as their source of water and aquatic lives to poisonous materials.
“Physical assessment and scientific studies have revealed that the Osun River colour change is as a result of illegal and unregulated gold mining activities in some parts of Osun State, Nigeria. Laboratory tests have further confirmed that the 213km Osun River has been heavily contaminated with mercury, lead and cyanide as a result of the activities of the gold miners.
“Over 2million people living in 20 communities in Osun State, 5,000 traditionalists, and over 5 million tourists are currently exposed to heavy metals that are capable of causing brain and kidney damage, tremor, impaired vision, paralysis, and cancer.
“The vulnerable white-throated monkeys and sitatunga antelopes drinking from the Osun River are also facing extinction.
“Ending the menace of illegal and unregulated gold mining activities and its impacts on the lives of the people, water bodies, the environment, and the Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove (UNESCO World Heritage Site) demands a sincere approach by the government and all stakeholders.
“There is an urgent need for an independent assessment of the current situation, remediation, and enforcement of laws that protect the environment, mining communities, and water bodies.”