Lagos — A group, Connected Advocacy, has raised alarm over the increased indiscriminate dumping of waste materials into water bodies and blocking of waterways saying that the development “is both alarming and worrisome.”
Speaking at the just concluded World’s Water Day celebration, Executive Director of Connect Advocacy, Prince Orekha, said that it is becoming an increasing threat not only to oceans and marine lives, but also an environmental nuisance of public health significance.
The growing human population and dependence on maritime resources for survival, and pollution, calls for the sustainable management and development of our marine environment.
“For example, the impact of overfishing, coastal area expansion and construction, pollution, especially plastics and climate change combined by coastal communities around the world are mostly poor and vulnerable people.
“While some countries are looking to the ocean as a new frontier for food security, poverty reduction, and economic growth, Nigeria can leverage its vast maritime resources to develop beyond oil and gas as revenue.
“Consequently, it is double imperative to restore ocean health, adopt innovative, sustainable and inclusive policies for blue economic growth. In line with the 2012 Rio+20 conference, which first raised the concept of blue economy development of nations, the need to stimulate blue growth through coastal and maritime area development especially for developing and island countries includes Nigeria and other Africa countries.
“In addition, to the population of poor people who depend on these resources as a last resort for employment opportunities globally, this underscores the urgent need for Nigeria particularly to improve the life of its citizens and revenue base, to mitigate the current level of unemployment of 33.3%. It will help the country progressively achieve Agenda 2030 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals especially goals 6, 12, 13 and 14of the United Nations.
“Nigeria can benefit from its over 850km coastal lines, an undisputed economic zone of 200 nautical miles and vast inland waterways estimated at nearly 4,000kms, to develop sustainably, remove over 30 million of its citizens from poverty and support a vibrant intra and interregional trade can gallop in over USD 5 – 6 billion annually.” He stated
According to the group’s boss, the Save Our Waters Campaign will champion public advocacy for ocean safety and protection, bring about attitudinal change to reduce our waste streams, especially plastics in our waters, policymakers to enforce treaties, individuals and industries sustainable development of our coastal areas and communities.
He said; “Also, the campaign will call on the Federal Government of Nigeria and other African leaders to strengthen laws that prevent industries and individuals from dumping trash directly into our waters, build local capacities both regionally and internationally to save our waters. Other campaigns are geared towards enhancing value for waters, the adoption and implementation of the 30×30 agenda.
The group is also demanding the implement the 30×30 agenda, to protect at least 30% of the planet’s land and ocean by 2030. as well as advocate for more investment in ocean health, indigenous people and local communities, in achieving the 30×30 agenda.
It also want the government to train indigenous persons and strengthen their capacity, increase awareness of individuals and industries on the impact of marine litters and ensure the implementation of treaties and encourage the adaptation of WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) as a public health intervention to be extended and sustained along the coastal lines and local communities, to tackle major public health issues.