Huge quantity of plastics were on Friday harvested for recycling from the sea when concerned members of the Rivers State House of Assembly led by the Speaker, Ikunyi Ibani, partnered with Second Opportunity Africa Foundation on an enlightenment campaign and marine clean up exercise. The clean seas initiative, aimed at ensuring plastics-free seas and oceans in Nigeria, saw over 100 volunteers using locally made implements to fish out plastics from the marine base water front to the ATC jetty in Okrika, a sea route used by oil and gas companies and blighted by floating plastics endangering marine life and lives of sea farers, said a statement.
Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the clean-up exercise, the brain behind the project, Linda Somiari Stewart said it has the full endorsement of relevant committees of the State House of Assembly and was the ‘baby’ of Evans Bipi, Tonye Smart Adoki and herself.
She said it is expected that corporate organizations, international NGOs and relevant Federal Government agencies will key into this initiative and partner with the State House of Assembly to tackle the menace of plastics on seas and oceans which have become a serious environmental challenge the world over. According to the statement, the coastal clean-up project is expected to ensure that rivers and seas are free of plastics and in turn stop plastics from getting into the oceans. “More importantly, plastic waste on the seas is responsible for the rapidly dwindling seafood catches which is making many coastal dwellers whose main occupation is fishing to go hungry,” it said.
The programme has set the ball rolling for a clean coastal environment that will usher in a blue economy. Another important component of the initiative is the plan to empower youths through the establishment of recycling hubs in selected coastal towns, said the statement.