OSEPA RAISES ALARM OVER POLLUTION OF COASTAL WATERS, WARNS INHABITANTS OF DANGER TO PUBLIC HEALTH, BIODIVERSITY
The Ondo State Environmental Protection Agency (OSEPA) has drawn the attention of stakeholders, particularly inhabitants of the coastal areas of the State on the dangers of continuous pollution of their water bodies due to human’s activities and the hazard it poses to public health, biodiversity and the ecosystem.
OSEPA, the Agency saddled with the responsibility of policing the State environment against any form of infractions arising from human activities in order to make it safer, healthier and greener for all, raised the alarm after on the spot assessment of the water bodies and samples taken to ascertain the level of their hydrocarbon contents.
Speaking to the Press on the findings, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Environment, Mr Oyeniyi Oseni, said that the unabated pollution of water bodies in the coastal areas of the State by the inhabitants especially the activities of illegal petroleum products operators poses great health risk to the aquatic lives and biodiversity which is a serious threat to the realization of blue economy in the region.
According to him, apart from oil spills arising from prospecting and exploration of oil by Petroleum companies in Ilaje local Government Area, Oil bunkering and oil droplets from engines being use in water transportation, other sources of pollution include, plastic wastes and open deafication on the canals, lakes, lagoons and rivelets dotted the entire area.
The OSEPA Chief Executive opined that the continuous discharges of contaminants in form of oil spillage by oil companies, bunkers, feacal products, black oil, oil droplets by boat operators are not healthy for human consumption because of their far reaching implications on public health, marine animals, the blue economy and biodiversity.
While admonishing the inhabitants of the riverine communities on the need to employ the best practices in the management of the water bodies that surrounds them in order to make them safe for both human consumption and commercial purposes, the Special Adviser reminded the people that it is what you give to the environment it gives back to you. It is a vicious cycle.
He said the unhealthy practices of Oil spillages by Oil Companies while prospecting for crude oil without carrying out proper cleaning and remediation exercise,Oil Bunkers and oil droplets by engines use in boat transportation could lead to serious health issues, affecting the ability of aquatic organisms like fishes to breed and plankton which the fishes feed on to grow.
Mr. Oseni added that the concomitant effects of this unhealthy attitude and practices by the inhabitants on healthy environment and sustainable development can only be imagined than experienced.
He called on all stakeholders especially the people of the riverine areas whose lives depend largely on the rivers and ocean to imbibe best practices by protecting their main source of livelihood which is fishing from further depletion because of its multiple effects on their continue existence.
OSEPA boss stressed the need to collaborate with the security personnel and State Task Force to enforce the Environmental Laws in order to reposition the ocean for blue economy.