DG NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside


The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA has inaugurated 120 Marine Litter Marshals to assist in its efforts to rid the oceans and seas in the country of unwanted waste materials that could cause environmental degradation and also impede safety of navigation on the nation’s territorial waters.

This is in tandem with NIMASA’s statutory function of marine environment management and in its continuous quest to reposition Nigeria’s maritime industry in line with global best practice. These marine litter marshals, who are young Nigerians, are expected to ensure that the oceans are kept clean and safe.

Director General of the agency, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, while speaking at the official inauguration ceremony of the 120 marshals, who represent the first phase of the scheme held at the Nigerian Maritime Resource Development Centre in Lagos, charged Nigerians on the need for sustainable use of the ocean resources. He also said that there are so many activities dependent on the ocean; hence the need to ensure it is clean and utilised optimally.

“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.

“The marine litters directly impact on ocean life, marine habitats, human health, and navigational safety with potential impacts on socio-economic development of nations. This necessitated the agency’s collaborate with the United Nations Environment Programme 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 DG said.

He however charged 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 eco system can be preserved. He further warned that the agency will not condone indiscriminate dumping of waste at sea.

Meanwhile a marine environment expert and President of the Waste Management Society of Nigeria, Professor Osinbajo Oladele, while speaking at the event, lauded the NIMASA initiative, describing the agency as a beacon of hope to the rest of Africa. He also said there was need to preserve our oceans as it holds a lot of opportunities in developing the nation.

Oladele said: “There is the need for inter-generational equity of our resources, which means the survival of the eco system is dependent on this present generation as it will affect the future generation. 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.

Recall that the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter 1972, commonly called the London Convention or Marine Dumping Convention, is an agreement to control pollution of the sea by dumping and to encourage regional agreements supplementary to the Convention. It covers the deliberate disposal at sea of wastes or other matter from vessels, aircraft, and platforms.

Available global statistics show that roughly 80 per cent of marine pollution originates on land and so to address this, strong coordinated action is needed, which propelled the UN to champion a course for the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based activities.

As part of its efforts to eliminate sea waste generated on land, NIMASA keyed into in order to establish and strengthen voluntary and a multi-stakeholder partnership on nutrient pollution, marine litter and water wastes.

Coordinator of the project and Deputy Director of the agency in charge of Marine and Environment Management, Dr. (Mrs.) Felicia Mogo said the initiative was designed to ensure proper solid waste management and in particular prevent materials like plastic waste and other dangerous items from getting into the nation’s waters to forestall navigational challenges.