The Director, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) Dr. Nnimmo Bassey has called on the government, oil companies and stakeholders in the fisheries sector to protect and clean up the water ways to protect the coastal lines from degradation.
Bassey made the call on Thursday while engaging fishers during Coastal ecosystems monitoring and training session at Uta Ewua in Ikot Abasi LGA of Akwa Ibom State.
He said coastline communities depend on aquatic ecosystem resources to secure their livelihoods and maintain their cultures, hence a distortion of this environment brings about both subtle and direct impacts on the social, cultural, and economic lives of the people.
According to Bassey, canalisation, for instance, and sea level rise, bring in salt water from the sea, thus contaminating freshwater sources. “This brings about the stressful contradiction of living on water and yet having none to drink. Besides the pressure on potable water, the intrusion of salt water also alters the diversity of aquatic and terrestrial species in the territories.
“Nigeria’s 850 kilometres coastline is notably challenged by activities of oil industry in the Niger Delta and the mammoth refinery being constructed at Lagos. Deforestation is another key factor as the shoreline protection provided by mangrove forests is rapidly being lost. Canalisation and sand filling for infrastructural and urban development are other major factors.
“The threats of sea level rise to the Niger Delta are compounded by the fact that the region is naturally subsiding. This means that the net sea level rise here is higher than in other parts of Nigeria’s coastline owing to the unique combination of factors.