A former Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation, Professor Bamidele Badejo has called for collaboration in tackling marine environmental degradation
Badejo made the call at the Annual International Environmental Management Stakeholders Conference in Lagos on Thursday.
The conference was organised by the Chartered Institute of Environment and Public Health Management of Nigeria (CIEPHMN) in collaboration with the Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria (MARAN).
The conference had as its theme: “Marine Pollution Control and the Challenges of Seaport Environmental Health Management in the 21st Century”.
He, however, added that collaboration was essential because the degradation effects transcend across nations.
He noted that there was also a need to promote cooperation, support (both human capacity, technology and finance where applicable) and good governance.
Badejo spoke on the topic: “Water Transportation and Environmental Degradation Quagmire – the Role of International Agencies in Sustainable Environment and Development”.
He listed some forms of environmental degradation as marine pollution, soil contamination, plastic pollution, chemicals, toxics and radioactive contamination, thermal pollution underwater mining and others.
“It is imperative to focus more attention on how best to manage human activities and their relationship or consequences on water transportation, this is very desirable if the environmental degradation worries are to be mitigated.
“Government should reevaluate, revalue and restructure the entire processes in place to ensure sustainable water, hence, the need for surveillance, monitoring and promoting compliance with extant regulations and standards,” he said.
He noted that the ability to estimate the total value of the marine ecosystem would provide policymakers with a strong rationale to improve ocean manager and invest in marine conservation.
He added that by implication, it would reduce environmental risk, degradation and ecological scarcity while boosting human wellbeing.
He listed some of the international organizations concerned with the protection of oceans and seas to include the World Trade Organisation, International Maritime Organisation, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and others.
According to him, these international organisations have enforced many conventions like the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, universally known as MARPOL, to address not just oil pollution by ships but also noxious liquid substances such as chemicals.
He, however, called for standardisation and quality control, regulating, finance sourcing, inventory, research and development, advocacy, capacity building, coordination and collaboration with various regional programmes to address this issue.
The Chairman of the occasion, Prince Olayiwola Shittu, represented by Mr. Pius Ujubuonu, noted that environment degradation was a global problem.
He said that in the Nigerian maritime industry, environmental pollution had received paltry attention from policymakers and other stakeholders.
He tasked CIEPHMN and MARAN with collaboration, adding that he hoped that critical stakeholders in Nigeria would work to address environmental degradation and pollution.
Earlier, the President of MARAN, Mr Anya Njoku noted that environmental pollution in the maritime industry was one challenging area that had really not been given necessary attention by policymakers and other stakeholders.
“A visit to the Apapa port, Port Harcourt port and other ports will reveal the sorry state of this national infrastructure which has been bedeviled by environment degradation coupled with inadequate maintenance of our seaports and facilities.
“The health implications of these pollutions on port users are very obvious and they are exposed to hazards that may degenerate to cardiovascular, respiratory and other coronary heart diseases,” he said.
He pointed out that it was on the basis that the institute and MARAN collaborated to find sustainable solutions to these complex problems.