Experts Raise Alarm over Threat to Marine, Coastal Environment

Sunday Ehigiator

Environmental experts and media practitioners have raised the alarm over the negative impact of the continuous pollution of the ocean and its surrounding environments in Nigeria.

They equally lamented that there were no strong and effective laws being implemented to protect the ecosystem and maritime and coastal activities.

They raised the alarm during a news conference held in Lagos recently by the Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF). The media parley attracted knowledgeable participants from the relevant sectors.

During the conference, the stakeholders lamented the dangers ahead if not adequately tackled, just as they proffered solutions on the best approach to the looming disaster ahead.

They called for the protection and restoration of the mangrove ecosystems and protection against sea pirates.

In his presentation titled, ‘Ocean, Energy and the Future We Want, Media Strategist, at Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), Philip Jakpo posited that plastics were among polluters of the ocean and environment, warning that proactive actions needed to be taken.

He disclosed that most 500 million plastic bags and bottles yearly “ended up inside the ocean. By 2040, oceans will receive 29 million metric tons of plastic bags and bottles yearly.”

He warned that global warming would worsen the situation, as higher temperatures lead to melting of ice which in turn leads to sea rise, floods and storms.

The environmental activist also warned against overfishing which he said reduces the fish stock in West Africa. He however decried the rate of the oil spill in the coastal waters and the ocean, stressing that crude oil spill into the ocean during exploration; destroying aquatic life.

“In Nigeria, the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) recorded a total of 4,486 cases of the oil spill, amounting to 242,193 barrels of oil, from 2015 to 2021.”

Also making his contribution at the event, a Professor from the University of Port Harcourt, Nenibarini Zabbey said the degradation and destruction of Nigeria’s ocean and the Niger Delta region had worsened over the years and needed urgent rescue.

He, therefore, asked the government to rise to the challenge of pollution in the region.

In her presentation titled, ‘Advocacy for the ocean: The role of media, a Member of HOMEF, Kome Odhomor, lamented that the exploration, exploitation, and production of fossil fuel and mining activities were impacting negatively coastal area communities.

“On a smaller scale, we see people using the rivers as drainage channels into which sewage and untreated industrial effluence may be dumped.

“With very lax policing of our ocean, there is a delineation of economic zones in our maritime areas – Ruination of local economies and damage to aquatic ecosystems.”

Odohomor, therefore, advised Nigerians to avoid littering the environment with nylon and plastic bags.

On the way forward participants at the conference resolved that there must be a change or revision of the policies, plans of action or the provisions in the legally binding instruments or marine policies.

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