Experts seek protection of beaches, shorelines
To stop erosion of shorelines and pollution of the ocean through illegal waste disposal, environmentalists have called on the government to provide waste control strategies at beaches and shorelines.
They also urged Nigerians to avoid indiscriminate disposal of waste into the ocean because of its negative effect on the biodiversity. Leading the call at a beach conference organized by Beach Samaritans, a non-governmental organization, in Lagos, the Chairman of Lagos State Urban Forest and Animal Shelter Initiative (LUFASI), Mr. Desmond Majekodunmi, stressed the need for beach protection to avoid the effects of climate change and the fast-rising water level.
Also, an environmentalist Science from the University of Botswana, Nametso Phonehi-Tshekiso, called for government partnership with informal sectors to keep the shorelines clean. Other experts, who spoke at the event, themed: “The Billion Naira Revenue Stream Every one is Ignoring”, lamented the effects of ocean waste on human health and steps to keep the shorelines clean.
They also cautioned against indiscriminate disposal of waste in the ocean by beach lovers, saying the repercussions are dire.The experts further stressed the importance of keeping shorelines clean and its role in boosting Nigeria’s tourism potentials. Polluted beach water, they said, makes swimmers sick and hurts coastal economies.
“Illnesses associated with polluted beach water include stomach flu, skin rashes, pinkeye, respiratory infections, meningitis, and hepatitis. In addition to the health effects of polluted beach water, there may be deep financial impacts as well”, they said.
According to them, beaches constitute the top vacation destinations in the country as people take more than 900 million trips to coastal areas each year. “Our waters provide more than just recreation as vacationers spend a lot of money during these coastal trips.
“Polluted water puts these revenues at risk. Fouled beaches result in a loss of utility for those who have planned to visit and swim in the water; this impacts local economies in the form of lost funds and the jobs they support.
“Protecting public health will require improved beach water monitoring and the closing of beaches when contamination is detected or suspected, rather than allowing people swim and get sick. Given the large number of people who visit our coastal waters and the substantial economic value of coastal tourism, the cost of monitoring programs is well justified”, they added.
Earlier, the Co-founder of the Beach Samaritans, Sola Alamutu said the event was organised to proffer solutions against pollution of the shorelines and beaches in all states in the country. For the Secretary of the group, Mrs. Iquo DianaAbasi, people should not to view waste as worthless but as an opportunity to make wealth.According to her, people should be involved in recycling, while everyone should be encouraged to participate in beach cleaning.
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