About Lagos lagoon
There are about ten Lagoons in Lagos State, with the Lagos and Lekki lagoons being the major lagoons among these lagoons. The other lagoons are Yewa, Badagry, Ologe, Iyagbe, Kuramo, Apese, Epe, and Mahin lagoons. The main body of the Lagoon lies between longitude 30 22’ and 30 40’ East and latitudes 60 17’ and 60 28’ N. It is more than 50 km long and 3 to 13 km wide, stretching 257 km from Cotonou in the Republic of Benin to the fringes of the Niger Delta in Nigeria. To the west it continues as the Lekki lagoon and envelopes a chain of islands on which the city of Lagos spanning the Lagos Island, Ikoyi, Maroko and Victoria Island is built. The lagoon is an expanse of shallow water, which in most areas is between 0.5-3.2 m deep with a maximum of about 5m deep in the main body of the lagoon and about 25m in some dredged parts of the Lagos harbour. The water is brackish, especially the tidal reaches surrounding an inlet from the sea. The interconnecting creeks are very shallow and are sites of active siltation and deposition of mud. On the northern and southern shores, the lagoon is bound by marshy areas, often thickly-clad with mangrove swamps, behind which is the rainforest.
Lagos is a port city and the most populous city in Nigeria, the second fastest-growing city in Africa and the seventh in the world. The population of Lagos according to the Lagos State Government is 17.5 million (a number disputed by the Nigerian Government and judged unreliable by the National Population Commission of Nigeria). The latest reports estimate the population at 21 million, making Lagos the largest city in Africa. The large population of Lagos depends on the Lagos lagoon for potable and recreational water as well as a source of cheap and affordable protein in the form of fish. There are two communities (Makoko and Ilaje) known to live on the Lagos lagoon, their main occupation is fishing. The lagoon provides a place of abode for these communities, the lagoon also provides inland waterways transportation for the residents in the state .
Potential impacts of climate change and anthropogenic activities
Nigeria’s vast water resources, especially Lagos lagoon, are among those most affected by environmental stress imposed by human population growth, urbanization and industrialization. The Lagos Lagoon by virtue of the petroleum industry activities and the fact that it is surrounded by industrialized Lagos metropolis, is at risk from anthropogenic pollution. Hydrocarbons enter the lagoon from river run-off, accidental spillages at oil depots, operational shipping loss in harbor and outboard motors plying the Lagoon and from careless waste oil disposal. Changes in sea level and rainfall patterns have resulted in constant flooding of Lagos.
What is significant/important about this lagoon?
The Lagos lagoon is the most extensive lagoon system in the West Africa sub region. The Lagos lagoon consists of three main segments namely the Lagos Harbour Segment, the Metropolitan and the Epe Division Segment. Lagos Lagoon empties into the Atlantic via the Lagos harbor. Studies show the pollution level of the lagoon is greatest in the Lagos harbour segment and decreases in the metropolitan end of the lagoon.
The Port of Lagos is Nigeria’s leading port and one of the largest and busiest in Africa. It is split into three main sections: Lagos port, in the main channel next to Lagos Island, Apapa Port (site of the container terminal) and Tin Can Port, both located in Badagry Creek, which flows into Lagos Harbour from the west.
The principal ocean port of Lagos is located at Apapa in a broad western branch off the main channel of the harbour. Apapa terminal is unarguably the busiest port in Nigeria and possibly one of the busiest in the sub-Saharan Africa. Fuelled by Public-Private investments, as well as an estimated population of over 24million, Lagos diverse economy is the leading contributor to Nigeria GDP.
How does this case study helps to grow knowledge and understanding of lagoon environments?
The Lagos lagoon is a major source of livelihood and supports the vast population of the city. the activities of Lagos especially the port activities, have resulted in the pollution of the Lagoon, which is affecting the people who depend on it for livelihood.