By Okuneye Moyosola
Experts have encouraged ship operators to embrace on shore ballast water treatment systems (BWTS) to reduce it’s effect on water bodies.
A lecturer at World Maritime University, Dr Lawrence kurushi said this while delivering a speech at the Ballast Water Senstization programme organized by Health Safety and Environment Division of the Nigerian Port Authority.
Dr Lawrence while speaking in the topic: Ballast Water Management: A Viable Solution For Developing economies noted that the on shore ballast water treatment system is affordable, safe for crew and self sustaining than the on board ballast water management systems.
According to him, a lot of ship owners are reluctant installing these treatment systems as a result of the cost associated with it.
Also speaking, lecturer, Department of Marine Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Lagos, Elegbeleye Owoyemi higlighted some of the effect of the ballast water.
Under the ecological impacts, these ballast water cause indiscrimate dislodgement of organism, disruption of acquatic food network, shift in the elemental stoichiometry of the acquatic ecosystem, introduction of invasive alien species and habitat loss. For the health aspect, the fish could be poisned which could also be poisonous to humans. There will also be a shutdown of fishery companies, losses related to tourism and recreation as well as reduction in sales of acquatic fisheried resources” he said.
Owoyomi also urged operatores to work towards ensuring that all environmental disasters as a result of the ballast water is eliminated.
Also speaking, Head of Environment Department at Lagos port complex, Mrs Anthonia Uchegbulam, noted that the sensitization programme was organised to create awareness on the need for ballast water management.
“More than 5000 ships come to Nigeria every year, that means we are equally victims of the effect of this ballast water. Since ballast water management came to existence, other nations has been doing this awareness and we are equally doing the same. Why we are curtailing the challenge of the ones that has been deposited already, this sensitization programme is an effort to curb further invasion of these foreign species into our water by educating our stakeholders to buy into the idea of ballast water management. If we don’t do anything about it now, these species will take over our waters and we will have nothing” she said.