Ahead of the United Nations Ocean Conference scheduled to hold from 5 – 9 June 2017 in New York, the Director of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Nigeria, Mr Ronald Kayanja, has called for steps to sustainably manage, protect and conserve marine and coastal ecosystems.
He said this at the Ocean Conference pre-summit dialogue organised by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in collaboration with Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR), FABE International and others, held on 31 May 2017 at Victoria Island Lagos.
Mr Kayanja who was represented by the National Information Officer of UNIC, Mr Oluseyi Soremekun, explained that “We will have to reduce emissions that are causing changes in our oceans, as well as take measures that build resilience to the impacts of ocean acidification and climate change, such as sea level rise.”
He called for urgent action to reduce land-based pollution, which accounts for 80 per cent of marine pollution, including by reducing agricultural run-off that ultimately ends up in the oceans and causes ‘dead zones’.
In his welcome address, the Executive Director of NIOMR, Dr Gbola Akande expressed concern about the growing acidification of the ocean and the attendant social and economic impacts.
Other activities organised to sensitise the public about the Ocean conference and the need to protect the ocean included beach clean-up exercise, seafoods cooking competition and exhibition of products made from debris recovered from the ocean.
The beach clean-up exercise held at Magbon-Alade beach Lagos on Tuesday, 30 May 2017, had about 100 ocean advocates and community members in attendance. Clad in T-shirts branded, “Our Ocean, our future”, and equipped with rakes, garden gloves and trash bags, they recovered kilograms of debris from the shoreline.
Speaking at the beach, Mr Soremekun urged the Magbon-Alade community members to use the ocean sustainably. He enjoined them to desist from dumping refuse and debris into the ocean, which according to him, could affect the marine life.