The International Maritime Organisation IMO has approved Nigeria’s Revamped Action Plan on Maritime Litter through which the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA plans to check the dumping of wastes, especially plastics into the marine environment, which later end up in the seas and oceans.

Available records show that Nigeria is among the 20 countries of the world that generate more than 80 per cent of the land-based plastic wastes that end up in the oceans. Meanwhile environmental experts estimate that more than one truck load of plastic wastes is dumped monthly into the oceans and seas in Nigeria, which poses a great danger to the maritime environment.

Meanwhile, the Federal Executive Council FEC has given its nod to the agency’s wreck removal initiatives in four regions, especially from Badagry to the Lagos waters.

Director General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, who made these disclosures when he delivered keynote address entitled: Optimising Nigeria’s Blue Economy for National Development’ at the 11th annual national conference of the Academy for Entrepreneurial Studies, Nigeria AES, which held in Lagos.

The DG, who was represented by his Special Adviser on Media and Communications, Ubong Essien, noted that as part of efforts to optimise the nation’s blue economic potential, the agency came up with its triple S Initiative comprising Maritime Security, Safety and Shipping Development.

He disclosed that in terms of maritime security, the agency is investing heavily in terms of partnerships with relevant government organs and agencies including the Nigerian Navy, especially that NIMASA as an agency regulates commercial shipping and its security operatives are prohibited from bearing arms under IMO regulations.

In terms of maritime safety, the DG also noted that the agency is leaving no stone unturned in its efforts enhance security on the nation’s maritime domain, which led to a drastic reduction in the cases of kidnap for ransom, piracy and armed robbery.

“NIMASA also leads and enforces. For instance, in line with the agency’s enforcement functions, we have come up with a Revamped Marine Litter Action Plan and the IMO has approved this action plan and very soon, there will be Marine Marshals, who would go around the communities in sensitising them on the dangers of dumping of wastes into the waters.

“The Federal Executive Council FEC also recently approved the agency’s wreck removal initiative under which four zones between Badagy and Lagos would be covered. We would advise the private sector to begin to consider to invest in these segments of the shipping industry”, the DG said.

The NIMASA boss also disclosed that the agency under its shipping development functions is currently partnering the Nigerian Railway Corporation NRC, Bayelsa State and a technical partner in South Africa towards revamping the NRC’s foundry where the removed wrecks would be recycled.

The guest lecturer at the event, Professor Chidi Ibeh, while speaking on the subject matter, noted that the concept of Blue Economy came up because substantial quantity of the natural resources on land had been depleted while those embedded within the Blue Economy are limitless.

He enjoined policy makers in Nigeria on the need to speedy up policy frameworks that would enable the country join the Blue Economy train, which is the in thing in the world, warning that it would be dangerous for the country to be left behind.