The Alumni of Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron (AMANO), has urged coastal communities to embrace proper waste disposal and stop dumping waste in the open ocean to protect the marine environment.
President of AMANO, Austin Ume-Zurike, made the call during a sensitization and clean up exercise of Sagbakoji Island in Amuwo Odofin, Local Government Area of Lagos State in commemoration of this year’s World Maritime Day with the theme: Sustainable Shipping for a Sustainable planet in Lagos on Thursday.
Ume-Zurike said the exercise was aimed at raising awareness of riverine community dwellers on the need to promote a healthy environment.
He noted that as part of the World Maritime Day celebration, AMANO chose to identify communities within the maritime environment and sensitize them on the benefits of keeping their environment clean.
“We want to join the international maritime community to celebrate this year’s world maritime day with respect to sustainability which is the theme for this year. We chose as part of our activities for the celebration to sensitize communities that live within the maritime riverine areas the importance of ensuring that the environments are kept clean and proper waste disposal. A lot of these communities throw waste directly into the water and that harms the environment and shipping community. Apart from the damage waste does to ships that come to our waters, it also affects the fishes in the ocean and other maritime organisms.
“So one of the best ways to celebrate this year’s world maritime day is to engage the communities to sensitize them on the importance of keeping the environment clean. The whole idea is to provide them with tools and materials to continue to keep the environment clean,” he said.
The AMANO President noted that the cleanup exercise would be held annually as other communities would be adopted adding that the association would also partner waste disposal companies for seamless waste collection and management in coastal areas.
“Part of our activities is to engage the marine pollution companies, waste disposal and recycling companies so that they can come and handle some of these plastic wastes for recycling purposes and pay the communities for the plastics that they collect. When the communities realise that they actually can benefit by making some money apart from keeping their environment clean, they will be willing to keep it clean.
“This is not going to be a one off thing. We hope to continue to do this as we go along every year moving from one community to another. People in the environment will know the benefits of keeping it clean,” he said.
One of the community leaders who received members of the association, Chief Atodgimiu Noel, thanked AMANO for choosing the community for the exercise.
He appealed to the association to assist the community in the area of job creation for the youth.
“Our youth are jobless. If you can grant the opportunity for the youth to take part in cleaning like this or in other things, we will be glad. We are suffering. No electricity and with the high cost of fuel, the situation is very bad,” he lamented.