By Godwin Oritse
THE Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, has decried the alarming rate at which the seas and oceans in Nigeria are currently being littered with wastes, calling for immediate action to stop the trend.
Speaking at the launch of the Maritime Action Plan on Marine Litter and Plastic Management in Nigeria, NIMASA’s Director General, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, said that Nigeria was currently leading the continent in the volume of marine waste generated and mismanaged.
According to Peterside, a report in September 2019 by the Voice of America, VOA, showed that Nigeria generated an estimated 32 million tonnes of solid waste per year, one of the highest in Africa.
Of that figure, Peterside said plastics constitute 2.5 million tonnes a development that poses a great danger to the environment and particularly the marine ecosystem.
He stated: “The challenges of marine litter and plastic pollution are multiple, and include threat to food security, threat to economic activities, navigational hazard, water safety, threat to ecosystem, harmful effects on marine life and bio-diversity among others.
“It is known fact that our oceans and seas sustain lives but when the threats to ocean health are numerous, it also affects human beings. A report by the World Economic Forum projects that by the year 2050, plastics in the oceans will outweigh fish if not mitigated. It is well known that of 260 million tonnes of plastics produced in the world each year, about 10 per cent ends up in the ocean and 70 per cent of the mass eventually sinks, damaging life on the seabed.
“The International Solid Waste Association, ISWA, in a study says, 83 per cent of the 4.8–12.7 million tonnes of land-based plastic waste that ends up in the ocean from the 192 coastal countries originates from 20 countries including Nigeria. A study by Africa Impact Sustainable Initiative also reports that approximately 500 shipping containers of waste is dumped in Africa every month. In 2010, annual mismanaged plastic waste for the continent was put about 4.8 million tonnes and could reach 11.5 million tonnes in 2025.
“These occurrences are not only evident globally or continentally, but also in Nigeria, which is among top 20 nations that contribute 83 per cent of total volume of land based plastic waste that end up in the oceans/seas. It is estimated that over 200,000 metric tonnes of plastic waste from land-based sources in Nigeria, is discharged into the Atlantic Ocean each year.”