A collaboration of marine professionals raises awareness on the negative impact of plastic pollution in coastal environment

An environmental body Partnership for Observation of the Global Ocean (POGO), has called on government and environmental agencies in the country to rally the citizens through sensitization on how to tackle plastic pollution in coastal environments in Nigeria.

According to the group, this has become inevitable given the consequential impact of plastic pollution on the environment or even on the economic endeavour of the people.

These disclosures were made when the Faculty of Oceanography, University of Calabar visited the Ibeno Beach with students of the University of Calabar International Demonstration Secondary School on Tuesday to ascertain the number of plastic materials they could pick from the ocean to diminish marine pollution in Ibeno local government council.

In contributing to scientific research on plastic pollution, the Citizens Observation of Local Litter in Coastal Ecosystem, COLLECT, in collaboration with the University of Calabar is surveying plastic pollution on beaches with schools in six African countries.

According to the leader of the delegation, Professor Francis Asuquo, marine plastic has implications on the Ocean, noting that one of such implications was its inability to degrade, thus impacting negatively on fishes, clog fishing nets, and waterways.

He said the Ocean tour supported by an international organization in the UK, Partnership for Observation of the Global Ocean, POGO, was aimed at conserving and managing the ocean for posterity.

The university don told journalists that the project was working with students to train them on plastic management whenever they embark on coastal tourism, saying that tourism could be hampered if the coast is not clean.

“Students and teachers will go to beaches during the month of October to observe and collect plastic litter and together with experts, from Universities and research institutes will contribute to the body of knowledge on distribution and abundance of coastal debris in African countries”, he said

Prof. Asuquo who introduced Oceanography as the study of the physical, chemical, and biological features of the ocean, including the ocean’s ancient history, its current condition, and its future, stressed the need to protect the ocean as attention would soon be shifted to the ocean with the gradual religation of crude oil.

And while harping on the benefit of the ocean to humanity, added that humans can impact positively or negatively on the Ocean, hence the need for the exercise.

He therefore advised the government and individuals to create enabling environment for the plastics to be sorted out as well as the means of recycling them for future use.

The coordinator of POGO COLLECT Project at the University of Calabar International Demonstration Secondary School, Mr. Pius Edor, said the tour has exposed the students to the nature of the Ocean and has helped them to develop a flair for the study of the ocean.

Some of the Students, Kekung Cherish, Victor Ita, and Ewuwuni Odili described the Ocean tour to Ibeno Beach as fascinating and worthwhile experience.

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