A non-profit organisation, African Marine Environment Sustainability Initiative (AFMESI), has urged the Nigerian government and other African countries to address the menace of plastic pollution on the marine environment from the producing companies.
The founder of AFMESI, Dr. Felicia Mogo, made the call during the 2nd AFMESI symposium with the theme, ‘Marine pollution prevention and control towards blue economy’ held in Lagos last weekend.
Noting that pollution was one of the major factors limiting the blue economy in Africa, Mogo, a former Director of Marine Environment Management at the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), encouraged African countries to unify their positions and make contributions on the issue to the global regulatory bodies such as the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
“The BASEL Convention is a global convention that advocates preventing trans-boundary movements of hazardous waste, among others. For example, a country may claim to have the resources to manage this and it is investigated but some others, especially African nations, may go for it because of poverty and lack of understanding.
They take such waste and dump it in the oceans and seas; eventually, these end up as very toxic substances.
“When country A is a signatory to a convention and country B that is the neighbour is not, it simply means you can dump that toxic material in my backyard, via the ocean. Nevertheless, the ocean does not know any political boundary; it’s a problem for everyone.
“To address this as a continent, we should have one voice when we are defending or when we are negotiating or getting into this kind of convention on the global level. This problem of pollution is harming food production, destroying biodiversity and eroding the economic gains that should have been generated from the sector,” she said.
Also speaking at the symposium, the Managing Director, Nigerian Bottling Company Limited and Chairman, Food and Beverage Recycling Alliance (FBRA), Matthew Seguin, said that an alliance with a shared concern for the environment has been formed to enable stakeholder collaboration.
The collaboration, he said, will enable the facilitation of a sustainable recycling economy for food and beverage packaging waste.
Also speaking, maritime lawyer, Emeka Akabogu, said:
“We should begin to focus on how to translate the blue economy gains from the good theoretical realm into actionable terms to generate revenue. In the space of the last four years, there has been so much talk about the blue economy and its numerous potentials, thus, we must be able to translate this advocacy into businesses that benefit every Nigerians.”