Towards creating a sustainable, organised and tourism-friendly environment, the Lagos State Government over the weekend charged residents on the need to ensure effective cleanliness and protection of waterfronts in the State.
The Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tunji Bello who gave the charge when he spoke at the 2nd edition of the Lagos Waterfront Clean-Up at the Lagos Ferry Jetty in Mile 2, also challenged the users of waterways and by extension waterfronts to see it as a precious gift of nature and to continuously protect it.
Represented by the Special Adviser on Drainage and Water Resources, Engr. Joe Igbokwe, the Commissioner said that wastes found on the waterbodies emanate from indiscriminate dumping and clearing, adding that it is the responsibility of everyone to ensure that waste doesn’t find its way back to the waterfront.
“You will all agree with me that cleaning the waterfronts would amount to efforts in futility, if the debris/wastes still continue to find their way back to the waterways and the shorelines,” he said.
Bello warned operators within the water transportation sector, Sand Dredgers Association, Fishermen, Private Boat owners and owners of facilities along the waterways to desist from improper decommissioning of dredging operations leading to the abandonment of pipes, disused engine parts, iron and metal cuttings as well as disused batteries.
He disclosed that the Marine ecosystem is a delicate one that should be protected saying that “apart from serving as a source of water for socio-economic activities such as transportation, power generation and irrigation, the water-bodies serve as habitat to aquatic life and the coastlines as recreational locations which must be protected to ensure a balance in the ecosystem.”
He enjoined everyone to come together as a people to stop this menace by embracing best practices in waste management.
“Specifically, we must lead by example and encourage our neighbours, relatives, and friends to do same,” he maintained.
Bello assured that the administration of Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu is resolute and committed to ensuring efficient management of solid wastes in this State and intends to achieve this through application of best practices.
“We must, therefore, stop littering our roads, streets and highways with wastes, separate and sort our wastes from our respective homes; bag our wastes and ensure we patronise PSP operators, stop creating illegal dumpsites on road medians, kerbs, open spaces, and road setbacks and start policing our environment to prevent Environmental Abuses” he emphasised.
Noting that the journey of cleaning the waterfront is going to be a continuous exercise, he encouraged and commended the Nigerian Ports Authority, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Ecobank and other Private and Public sector collaborators who saw the initiative as a worthy cause and have always contributed to making it a reality.
Earlier, in her address of welcome, the Permanent Secretary Office of the Environment, Mrs. Aderonke Odeneye said the Lagos Waterfront Clean up was designed to raise awareness amongst the citizenry, promising that the exercise will be extended to other waterfront sites in Lagos.
She said that by embracing and sustaining the Clean-up exercise, the country and Lagos State, in particular, would benefit from more pristine and desirable shorelines for leisure and aesthetics, increased income from waterfront tourism, less contribution to global marine litter, improved biodiversity and food security, among others.
The event also featured a photo exhibition and ceremonial clean up of the waterfront in Mile 2 with all the dignitaries and attendees at the event picking refuse and dirt, disposing them into waste bags provided at the venue.