By Ibrahim Yakubu
Available statistics show that two-thirds of world marine life is considered endangered species due to climate change and improper disposal of chemicals which affects living organisms in streams, rivers or the oceans.
DAILY NIGERIAN reports that as the world celebrates world animal’s day on October 4, people need to stop the indiscriminate dumping of wastes in the streets, gutters and their neighbourhood.
It was observed that, as a people, we don’t have good waste disposal culture.
Take Lagos State for an example, the state alone is said to generate 13,000 tons of wastes daily, and most of these wastes ended up in the rivers, streams and lagoons.
In Nasarawa and Kaduna communities, for example, human wastes are simply discharged into drainages and subsequently flushed by rain into River Kaduna for onward movement to other communities and climes.
By so doing, the waste so disposed poisons and kills aquatic animals.
Climatologist and Assistant Director, African Climate Reporters, Piman Hoffman, said when his team took a tour of river banks in Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Sokoto and Zamfara states, it observed that most fish species were gone and very few could be seen.
Mr Hoffman attributed this development to indiscriminate dumping of chemicals, wastes and human activities.
According to him, humans have introduced a significant number of chemicals in the environment which are very harmful to marine animals.
He said while some chemicals are designed to get rid of weeds and pests, a significant amount of chemicals from industrial and agricultural processes constitute wastes which mostly find their ways into the rivers.
He expressed sadness over the attitude of companies who dumped chemicals into water sources without recourse to the consequences.
He explained that anytime chemical waste is released, its effect goes into the atmosphere and pollute the water.
“As it rains, the chemicals are washed into rivers, which in turn feed the waterfalls and then go into the ocean,” he added.
He added that climate change and human activities have caused the extinction of much aquatic life and many are still going due to a continuous dumping of hazardous wastes harmful to living organisms in water.
“We dump everything in the oceans, including plastic bags and other plastic debris, garbage, and toxic chemicals, crude oil, sewage and nuclear wastes. We killed thousands of aquatic animals daily without knowing the consequences, hence, the need to halt this ugly attitude.
“There has been an increasing concern about the environment in which man lives. Solid wastes, a mount of rubbish, garbage and sewage are being produced every day in the urban centres.
“It must be noted that some component of these wastes including food, paper, metals, polythene bags, zinc and lead-containing materials among others, consume oxygen thereby changing the redox potential of the liquid present,” he said.
The Climatologist noted that when people dump chemicals into gutters, they are really dumping them into the creeks.
“Besides being illegal, it is anti-social, and sometimes deadly to fish, and other creek dwellers. Oil and other chemicals also pose a threat to our drinking water supply.
“In-stream beds, these chemicals can find their way through porous soils into deep drinking water aquifers and pollute them,” he emphasised.
He said hazardous wastes are poisonous by-products of manufacturing, farming, city septic systems, construction, automotive garages, laboratories, hospitals, and other industries.
“The waste may be liquid, solid, or sludge and contain chemicals, heavy metals, radiation, dangerous pathogens, or other toxins.
“Even households generate hazardous waste from items such as batteries, used computer equipment, and leftover paints or pesticides.
“When a toxic waste harms one organism, it can end up destroying an entire food chain of aquatic life.
“Improperly disposed chemicals pollute marine life and kill sea mammals, corals, and fish, crabs, seabirds and other creatures living in water,” he added.
According to him, fertilizers used by farmers also pose a similar danger to aquatic plants and animals; as well as oil pollution, “ another major pollutant killing marine creatures in the Niger-Delta region of Nigeria,” he lamented.
Fishermen expressed total dissatisfaction over increased dumping of trash, toxic and other waste materials into gutters and the rivers that lead to gradual extinctions of fingerlings and aquatic animals.
Some fishermen, who spoke to newsmen at the riverbank in Kaduna, said many species of fish have gone extinct, as they no longer see fish like sardines, and others as it used to be some years ago.
Musa Sani, a fisher at Kangimi Dam in Kaduna, disclosed that many species of fish had gone extinct, while some are on their way to being extinct.
According to him, for the past 10 years, fishes like sardines and tilapia have disappeared.
“We are forced to migrate from one river to another in the search of other fishes for sale,” he said.
Mr Musa disclosed further that even frogs and crabs have all disappeared.
He called on citizens to stop dumping wastes into drainages and riverbanks to save aquatic animals from going into extinction.
Another fisherman at River Benue, Paul Moses, appealed to the government to monitor activities of industries in the country as improper waste management leads to sicknesses or diseases.
DAILY NIGERIAN observed that today, it is difficult to see crocodiles along the banks of River Kaduna. It is also very improbable to see a Hippopotamus in Rivers Niger or Benue.
Similarly, frogs, tadpoles, toads, crickets have virtually disappeared or have gone extinct.
However, the worry is that the huge deposit of waste in the ocean or river has constituted a big threat to the survival of marine life.
If Nigeria is committed to playing a role in the global ocean cleanup campaign, the federal government must develop a mechanism that would curb the use of polythene bags and plastics as these materials constitute a nuisance to marine life and coastal communities.