Dr. Awwal Bamanga, Assistant Director, Marine Environment Management Department, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) says campaigns and education to increase awareness and promote behavioural change is key to addressing menace of marine litters.
Bamanga said this at the Ocean Ambassadors Foundation Children’s Day School to Sea Career Tour at the LTT Coastal and Marine Services Ltd., in Lagos on Thursday.
The theme of the day is, ‘Marine Litter in our Waters and the Negative Impact on Blue Economy with Solutions’.
He said that there was need to research, key to focusing on the future, to know where the litters come from and mitigate it.
“Other recommendations in addressing the marine litters are long-term engagement with industry in addressing waste management issues, giving consumers incentives to recycle persistent materials.
“There is need to prevent and reduce the production and consumption of environmentally persistent types of plastic and this can be addressed in part through further research and development.
“Also, recognition and concern regarding marine debris and others are key to mitigating marine litters,” he said.
He pointed out some of the sources of marine litters to include unprocessed waste from sewage treatment plants, items washed down from rivers, fishing equipment abandoned by boats.
Bamanga listed some of the ways to mitigate marine litters as: legislation, involvement of stakeholders, recycling, mapping out where the litters emanate, reducing collection and others.
He added if the marine litters are not mitigated, the impact are hazardous such as habitat damage, hazard to navigation, ingestion by fishes which lead to death, entanglement and economic cost.
Also contributing, Mr Kalusky Yechiel, Managing Director, Marine Division Lagos Channel Management (LTT), said that it was unfortunate that waste management was not properly treated in Nigeria.
According to Yechiel, presently there are signs that government is trying to change the narrative.
“I am excited with the level of education around waste recycling and marine litter management. What we are doing here today is the first step to clean Nigerian environment,” he said.
Mrs Mulikat Sanni, Chairperson, Mulifelong Motors Ltd., said that education without moral was like a tea without sugar, adding that she was glad that emphasis today was on clean environment.
Sanni admonished the girls to prioritise decency in their physical appearance, conduct, speech and all aspects of their lives
“When you take a drink, look for a waste bin to dispose the cans or bottles. We should also look towards adding value and preserving the environment,” she said.
Earlier, Mrs Violet Williams, President, Ocean Ambassadors Foundation, noted that the day was to catch them young for the girls to know that they are not supposed to throw plastics, even in drainage.
“Charity begins at home, so the need to educate these young ones on the right things to do.
“A letter will also be sent to managements of each schools that came today for them to have marine litter advocacy clubs, so that more awareness will be created,” she said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the school present at the event are: Foutain Heights Secondary School, Methodist Girls High School Yaba, Dowen College, Lekki, Mindbuilders College, Alausa, Honeyland Schools Magodo, Dansol High School, Government Senior College, Maroko and Wahab Folawiyo Senior High School.