The former Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation, Prof. Bamidele Badejo who is now of the Department of Geography, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, 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 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 Internatinal 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 under water 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 marine ecosystem would provide policy makers 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 international organizations concerned with the protection of oceans and seas to include World Trade Organisation, Internatinal 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 Ujubonu, noted that environment degradation was a global problem.
He said that in the Nigerian maritime industry, environmental pollution had received paltry attention from policy makers and other stakeholders.
He tasked CIEPHMN and MARAN on 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 policy makers and other stakeholders.
“A visit to the Apapa port, Port Harcourt port and other ports will reveal the sorry state of these national infrastructure which have 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 cardio-vascular, respiratory and other coronary heart diseases,” he said.
He pointed out that it was on these basis that the institute and MARAN collaborated to find sustainable solutions to these complex problems.
Also, Dr George Ayoade, Director-General of the institute, congratulated the inductees for their perseverance and diligence which placed them on high pedestal in their professional callings due to the stringent condition of being a member.
He urged them to represent the institute well in their respective locations and sectors as well as admonished them to ensure strict adherence to the ethics of the professional practice.