The Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron, Akwa Ibom State, has entered into partnership with the Marine and Environment Care, to drive a campaign against marine plastic pollution, as a step to save the seas and oceans.
Marine and Environment Care is an advocacy group that creates awareness through campaigns and community engagements to ensure people take responsibility to care and use environmental resource sustainably.
At the maiden public engagement held in Akwa Ibom, cadets, members of staff and other invited guests were exposed to the main campaign messages of action to end plastic pollution.
In his welcome address, Rector of the academy, Commodore Emmanuel Effedua (Rtd), expressed his commitment to the campaign to end marine plastic debris.
Effedua, told the gathering that the academy considered it a worthy course of support, considering that marine plastic pollution is a global concern adding that institutions around the world were making recognisable efforts at ensuring the oceans become healthy again.
He said: "The MAN is glad to identify with this programme that is educating the community on the dangers of polluting the seas and oceans, as well as actionable steps that should be taken to end the pollution.
"As an institution connected with the marine environment, it is our responsibility and honour to guard the marine environment, so that we can continue to enjoy the benefits of the ocean resources. The talk about the Blue Economy, which comes from the ocean resources, cannot be complete without taking responsibility of the well-being of the oceans."
"It is the Decade of Ocean Science For Sustainable Development, as declared by the UNESCO, and the essence of decade to for the UN member states to work on mapped out strategies toward achieving the ocean we want today and for the future generation.
"We have simply set sail showing our step to action to ending marine pollution, particularly with plastic. We shall leave here with the message, not just for our consumption alone, but to be shared among everyone around us, "he stated.
In her presentation, the resource person, Mrs. Hope Afoke Orivri, a specialist in communication for human and environmental development, said the core of the engagement was to enable participants at the lecture get exposed to the dangers of marine environment pollution and be able to take action based on the message they have been engaged with.
She urged participants to be worthy ambassadors of the oceans by staying true to the pledge to reduce, reuse and recycle plastic wares than engaging in indiscriminate disposal of waste.
She told the gathering that people must begin to understand now that marine debris, particularly plastic pollutant come from human activities, as people fail to manage their municipal waste properly.
She said: "People need to understand that it is the activities that human involve in on land that starts the pollution to the seas. When used items including plastic packaging for food and drinks and even cutlery are dumped carelessly after use, such items are swept into the seas by running water or wind.
She said: "The good thing is that we can all agree to take responsibility and begin to save our seas now by cutting out single-use plastics, and recycling the ones we must throw away.
"Pollution of the seas is very worrisome, because the pollutants end up in our food chain, beginning with the seafood we eat. Of course, the fishes and marine mammals ingest the plastic thinking it is food."