The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), has inaugurated Marine Litter Marshals to assist the Agency in ridding the oceans of unwanted waste materials that could cause environmental degradation, and also impede safety of navigation on the nation’s territorial waters.
Director General, NIMASA, Dakuku Peterside, at the inauguration of the first 120 marshals charged Nigerians on the sustainable use of the ocean resources, adding that there are so many activities dependent on the ocean; hence the need to ensure it is clean and properly utilised. According to him, “the state of health of the ocean is related to the state of our health and our economy; therefore we must stop the indiscriminate dumping of materials in our ocean”.
Peterside further stated that marine litter directly impacts on ocean life, marine habitats, human health, and navigational safety with potential impacts on socio-economic development of nations.
This, he said necessitated the Agency to collaborate with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) Global Partnership Action (GPA) in 2015 to carry out a scientific study on marine litter challenge in Nigeria, thereby culminating to the development of the national action plan on marine litter and its campaign concept.
The D G used the opportunity to charge the marshals to go to the ports, coastlines and littoral communities and enlighten them on the need to maintain cleaner oceans; enjoined them to also keep watch and ensure that the right thing is done so that our ecosystem can be preserved. He warned that the Agency will not condone indiscriminate dumping of waste at sea.
Also speaking, Marine environment expert and the President of the Waste Management Society of Nigeria, Osinbajo Oladele, said there is a need to preserve our oceans as it holds a lot of opportunities for developing the nation. Oladele stated further that there is the need for inter-generational equity of our resources, which means the survival of the ecosystem is dependent on this present generation as it will affect the future generation. According to him, “The environment is not a gift from our parents, but a loan from our children. We must therefore do all we can to preserve it”, Osinbajo said.
The coordinator of the project and Deputy Director, Marine and Environment Management of NIMASA, Mrs. Felicia Mogo while responding 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.
In a related development, Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State has reiterated the dire need to utilize the maritime potentials in the state, expressing readiness to institutionalize it in the education sector. Akeredolu said this during a courtesy visit to his office by the Nigerian Maritime Administrative and Safety Agency (NIMASA), stressing that his administration is ready to put the state’s waterways into use.