… Pleads against killing Sea turtles or eating their eggs***
The IOI-Nigeria Center, Director, Akanbi Williams has highlighted the need for collective and constructive efforts in the protection of Oceans, if the vision of the United Nations, which set aside June 8th, as World Ocean Day would be realised.
Akanbi Williams highlighted this while speaking at the Clean-up Exercise marking the 2022 World Ocean Day with ‘REVITALISATION’ yesterday at Marwa Beach, Oniru, Victoria Island, Lagos.
The Director posited that the global community, particularly Nigeria, needs collective action to keep the Oceans clean.
It is noteworthy that June 8th is commemorated as World Ocean Day by the United Nation to celebrate the Ocean, creating awareness of the importance of the ocean to humanity, especially in terms of its roles on our planet.
According to Williams: “This is an important event set out to signify the importance of our ocean because it is the largest entity on our planet and it is the main provider of major services that supports life.
“Such services include the provision of highly rich nutrient foods, regulation of the air we breathe, the major platform that enhances global trade.
It is also the major component that regulates most of the natural activities or events happening around us and the entire globe.”
He said the weather, climate, water, cycle, and gaseous cycles (Oxygen, Carbon Dioxide, Nitrogen, etc), are such processes that are regulated by the ocean.
“Being the largest entity on earth, it is also the largest aquarium containing the largest numbers of organisms both in numbers and species composition.
The smallest microorganisms to the largest animals (the blue whale) on earth are found in the ocean.”
“These organisms are living in ‘perfect’ harmony with each other through the dynamic levels of interactions.
Hence, a disruption in this kind of harmony may have significant effects on the entire balance of the ecosystem.
Williams added that “It is a known fact that human activities have been impacting our oceans through indiscriminate and unsustainable exploitation of both the renewable and non-renewable resources.”
He noted that because of the little knowledge of how important the ocean is to us and the dire consequences of our collective actions can be, we have allowed the adverse activities to go on for so long, pointing out marine pollution as one way in which people have used plastic pollution to become a major scourge.
“Plastics are man-made that have found their way into all facets of our lives.
It is almost impossible at this stage to stop the production or use of plastics because of the numerous advantages it offers.
Such include replacement and/or alternatives to metals, glass, and natural products, cheap and effective public hygiene, and reduction in weight and sizes of many products, to mention a few.
“These advantages lead to the proliferation of the use of plastics and subsequently the waste generation.
The rate at which the plastic waste had grown and still growing is now at an alarming rate, hence the need to sustain the campaigns on the reduction, re-use, recycle or refuse to help in mitigating the effects on the ocean.”
The Director, IOI-Nigeria Center further said: “We also need to find solutions to stop or reduce plastic pollution at source and recovery of the ones in the environment.
The latter is what we are to do today.
“Although plastics may be very useful to humans, it is becoming harmful to the environment, particularly other animals.
One such animal is the SEA TURTLES which live in water and must come to land or beaches to lay eggs.
“Turtles are reptiles just like the common Agama Lizard that are air-breathing and lay leathery eggs which must be buried in the ground or sand.
Hence, the turtles are born at the beaches and as a genetical instinct, return to the same beach of their birth to lay their own eggs.”
He also explained that all organisms on earth have specific roles they play in the ecosystem space they occupied.
“Sea turtles are wonderful creatures that are harmless to man but perform several functions in the marine ecosystem.
They depend on several organisms for survival, so also are they to other organisms.”
“Over the years, the populations of these turtles are reducing due to many threats to their survival, and almost the species are classified as endangered to extinction.
“This means that if nothing is done about what we have done or doing that is affecting their population, there may be no more sea turtles.
Human activities that contribute to their population reduction are; fishing, accidents with water crafts, seismic and sonar activities, and pollution from all sources, to mention a few.
“A clean and conducive beach is a good ground for them to lay their eggs for the propagation of new generations but most beaches are covered in plastics and other debris.
Part of what we can do is to help rid the beaches of plastics not only for aesthetic values but for other organisms that use our beaches for natural purposes.
That is what we are here to do today and also sustain the creation of awareness on the importance of a clean beach,” Williams also said.
“I must also use this opportunity to state that because the turtles are harmless and not so active on land, they become vulnerable and people catch them to eat or for sale”, observed the Director, emphasizing the need to stop the killing or sales of the turtles that had come to lay their eggs at their place of birth.
“We not only kill the turtles, but we also eat their eggs.
“These are not good or sustainable practices and we need to stop them.
We need to collectively help to protect the sea turtles by allowing them to lay their eggs freely and return to the water; help to protect their eggs and hatchlings or their young so that they can rebuild their population and maintain the specific roles they play in the marine ecosystem.
That should be our collective responsibility,” he further stressed.