The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has cautioned against the dangers of plastic waste revealing that Nigeria is among top 20 countries that contribute 83 per cent of total volume of land based plastic waste that end up in the oceans and seas.
The Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside stated this thursday during the launch of Maritime Action Plan for Marine Litter and Plastic (MAP-ML+P) Management in Nigeria.
According to him, “it is estimated that over 200,000 metric tonnes of plastic waste from land-based sources in Nigeria, is discharged into the Atlantic Ocean each year.
“A recent report in September 2019 by the Voice of America (VOA), also shows that Nigeria generates an estimated 32 million tonnes of solid waste per year, one of the highest amounts in Africa. Of that figure, plastic constitutes 2.5 million tonnes. This poses a great danger to the environment and particularly our marine ecosystem.
“An immeasurable number of coastal communities in Nigeria have no official waste collection service, meaning that there is nowhere for litter to go. Regrettably, most of the waste generated in these communities ends up in the seas and oceans.”
The overall implications for the Nigerian economy, he warned, are enormous adding that the presence of Marine Litter and Plastics in our waters is impacting negatively on the drive to make Nigeria a greener, safer and healthier nation.
“We all know that solutions to this global challenge are multiple and require consideration of a systematic approach to the various sources generating the pollution, both land- and sea-based contributors, and a combination of intervention in different sectors and at different levels.
“For those within the maritime sector, we are faced with greater threat hence the development of the relevant IMO instruments which includes the MARPOL-Annex V, London Convention and its Protocol as well as the Nigerian Merchant Shipping Act 2007. This global effort are tackling marine litter and waste dumped into the sea and oceans aligns with the objectives of the UN Sustainable Development Goals 6, 11, 12,14, and 17, “he said.
He added, “Recognizing that NIMASA has a responsibility of ensuring that Nigeria has Clean Seas and Oceans, we have decided to take action in partnership with others to combat the menace of Marine Litter and Plastics. The result of that coordinated effort is the Maritime Action Plan on Marine Litter and Plastics, which we are here to present.