A university don and a member of the National Committee on the Implementation of Environment Impact Assessment EIA in Nigeria, Professor Babajide Alo has said that more than one truck load of plastic wastes are dumped into the oceans and seas in Nigeria, a development  that poses a great threat to the maritime environment.

The professor, who spoke at the 2018 edition of the African Day of the Oceans and Seas organised by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA with the theme: “Partnership key to sustainable Blue World, also hinted that more than 80 metric tonnes of plastic waste products are dumped into the oceans every day globally, which poses serious threat to safe and secure marine environment.

He made all these revelations while presenting a paper entitled: ‘Understanding Nigeria’s Regulatory Instruments for effective Environmental Management, Managing Land-based waste and developing a roadmap for building sustainable interest and passion for the maritime industry in young people; the role of government, practitioners and the academia at the annual event.

According to him, land-based pollution constitutes a major setback towards the development and harnessing the full potential of the Blue Economy, not only in Nigeria but also across the globe, a development that requires urgent attention.

He however regretted that this situation is made even worse by the weak regulatory framework, which makes it almost impossible to implement relevant international conventions and protocols that would have helped in addressing these human-induced pollutants.

He said: “Human activities have over the years continuously injured the ecosystem. Regrettably, the regulatory framework is very weak basically due to lack of funds. You can only develop the Blue Economy through an integrated approach, which includes addressing the menace posed by land-based wastes dumped into the seas and oceans”.

The Professor of Chemistry also made a case for proper management of land generated wastes including plastics, which he said move from the dust bins, the gutters, empty into the rivers and ultimately into the oceans with the attendant harm on the ecosystem.

Recall that the 22nd Ordinary Session of Heads of States and Governments of the African Union AU had in 2015 adopted the Africa’s Integrated Maritime Strategy, also called AIMS 2050, which in turn recommended the establishment of an Africa Day of Seas and Oceans slated for July 25th of every year. This is in recognition of the fact that Africa’s seas and oceans represent major assets to accelerate the development of the continent’s economies.

Part of the objectives of the celebration was to raise awareness of the campaign for better waste management on land to aid the recovery of Nigeria’s seas and oceans, to popularise the strategic importance of National Maritime Strategy, to reopen the discourse on the National Maritime Transport Policy for sustainable development and to understand the agency’s roles beyond annual celebrations and partnership strategies to ensure sustainable implementation of resolutions. Another objective includes developing a roadmap for building a sustainable interest and passion for the maritime industry in our young people, among several others.

The DG of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside had while speaking at the event, stated that partnership remains a crucial element to the effective development and utilisation of Africa’s maritime resources, noting that there is also need for countries in the African continent to collaborate, in order to realise a common goal, geared towards the actualisation of the continent’s Blue Economy.

“Our passion for Africa’s partnership inspires our leadership role in the Association of African Maritime Administration (AAMA) to continue to innovate with ideas to pull African Maritime Administrations (MARAD) together for sustainable realisation of the objectives of the African Integrated Maritime Strategy (AIMS) 2050 towards a peaceful, prosperous and integrated Africa where there will be equal opportunity to participate towards economic growth.

“The world is concerned about the sustainable use of the seas and oceans as it is endowed with enormous resources, but unfortunately, they are neglected in Africa including Nigeria, hence the need for the continent to utilise the opportunities embedded in it”, Peterside had said.