The Ondo State Environmental Protection Agency (OSEPA) has drawn the attention of stakeholders, particularly inhabitants of the coastal areas of the state to the danger of continuous pollution of their water bodies, and the hazard it poses to public health, biodiversity and the ecosystem.
OSEPA is 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. The Agency raised the alarm after on-the-spot-assessment of the water bodies, and the analysis of samples taken to ascertain the level of their hydrocarbon contents.
On the findings, the Special Adviser to the state Governor on Environment, Mr Oyeniyi Oseni told the media 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 pose great health risk to the aquatic lives and biodiversity, which is a serious threat to the realisation 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, other economic activities of the inhabitants, especially water transportation, oil bunkering and other sources of pollution include dropping of plastic wastes and open defecation on the canals, lakes, lagoons and rivulets that dot the entire area.
The OSEPA Chief Executive said that the continuous discharges of contaminants in form of oil spillage by oil companies, bunkers, faecal 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 surround them in order to make them safe for both human consumption and commercial purposes, the Special Adviser reminded the people that it is what they give to the environment that it gives back in return. “It is a vicious cycle”, he emphasised.
He said that the unhealthy practices of oil spillages by oil Companies, oil Bunkers and the droplets by boat operators 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.
Oseni added that the concomitant effects of the unhealthy attitude and practices by the inhabitants on the environment and sustainable development could only be imagined than experienced.
He called on all stakeholders, especially the people of the riverine areas whose lives depend largely on the ocean to imbibe best practices by protecting their main source of livelihood from further degradation because of the multiple effects on their continue existence.
The OSEPA boss stressed the need to collaborate with the security personnel and the state Task Force to enforce the environmental laws in order to reposition the ocean for blue economy.