NIMASA inaugurates marine litter marshals for sea protection
. Dakuku advocates sustainable use of ocean resources
.120 Marshals commence first phase
Udeme Clement & Joel ThankGod
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency ,NIMASA, has inaugurated Marine Litter Marshals, to assist the Agency in protecting the oceans of unwanted waste materials that could cause environmental degradation, and impedes safety of navigation on the nation’s territorial waters.
The Director General of the Agency, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, during the flag-off ceremony of the first phase with 120 marshals, held at the Nigerian Maritime Resource Development Centre in Lagos, charged Nigerians on sustainable use of ocean resources.
According to him, “There are so many activities dependent on the ocean; hence the need to ensure it is clean and properly utilized. The state of health of the ocean is related to the state of our health and our economy; therefore we must stop indiscriminate dumping of materials in our ocean”.
He further stated, “Marine litter directly impacts on ocean life, marine habitats, human health, and navigational safety with potential impacts on socio-economic development of nations. This necessitated the Agency to collaborate with the United Nations Environment Program ,UNEP, Global Partnership Action ,GPA, in 2015, to carry out scientific study on marine litter challenge in Nigeria, thereby culminating to development of the national action plan on marine litter and its campaign concept.”
Dr. Peterside used the opportunity to charge the marshals to go to the ports, coastlines as well as littoral communities and enlighten them on the need to maintain cleaner oceans. He enjoined them to also keep watch and ensure that the right thing is done, so that our eco-system can be preserved. He warned that the Agency will not condone indiscriminate dumping of waste at sea.
Also speaking, a marine environment expert and the President, Waste Management Society of Nigeria, Professor Osinbajo Oladele, described the Agency as a beacon of hope to the entire Africa. He said, “There is the need to preserve our oceans as it holds a lot of opportunities in developing the nation.”
He stressed, “There is also need for inter-generational equity of our resources, which means the survival of the eco-system is dependent on this present generation, as it will affect the future generation. The environment is not a gift from our parents, but a loan from our children. We must do all we can to preserve it”.
It may be recalled that the Convention on Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter 1972, commonly called the “London Convention” and also abbreviated as Marine Dumping, is an agreement to prevent pollution of the sea. It covers deliberate disposal at sea of wastes from vessels, aircraft, and platforms.
According to global statistics, about 80 per cent of marine pollution originates on land. To address this, strong coordinated action is needed. UN has championed a course for the Global Programme of Action for Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based activities, which NIMASA has also keyed into, in order to establish and strengthen voluntary and multi-stakeholder partnerships on nutrient pollution, marine litter and water wastes.
Consequently, the coordinator of the project and Deputy Director, Marine and Environment Management of NIMASA, Dr. Felicia Mogo pointed out that the initiative is to ensure proper solid waste management, and in particular prevent materials like plastic waste and other dangerous items from reaching our waters.
NIMASA as the Agency of government responsible for Marine Environment Management in its continuous quest to reposition the Nigerian maritime sector in line with global best practice, has taken the step to engage some young Nigerians as marine litter marshals who are expected to ensure that the oceans are kept clean and safe.