Beach Samaritans Co-Founder Pelu Awofeso at the littered Regal Seaview Beach, Lekki
Beach Samaritans Co-Founder Pelu Awofeso at the littered Regal Seaview Beach, Lekki

On Saturday 19 September, volunteers for Beach Samaritans and the Kids Clean Club (both NGOs) will cleanup Regal Seaview Beach in Lekki (Lagos State) to commemorate the International Coastal Cleanup, now in its 30th year.

“We are doing this for our environment, for our tourism and for our collective health,” says Beach Samaritans Co-Founder and environmentalist Ms. Adesola Alamutu. “This will be our sixth cleanup activity in the past one year, and we are delighted that we have had the support of hundreds of volunteers and some sponsors thus far.”

The International Coastal Cleanup—the world’s largest volunteer effort to cleanup waterways and the oceans—is an initiative of the Ocean Conservancy, founded in 1972  to ensure that the world’s ocean stay free of avoidable waste.

Nigeria has more than 800km of coastline, much of it extensively littered. In the last 25 years, an estimated 144, 606, 491 pounds of trash was removed from beaches worldwide. “Unfortunately, what we see dirtying beaches and floating on the ocean’s surface is just the tip of the iceberg,” according to the Conservancy. “Much more lies unseen beneath the surface and far away on the open water — but that doesn’t make it any less important.”

Researchers say around 80 percent of marine litter originates on land, and most of it is non-biodegradable. And according to the Natural Resources Defense Council says: “Plastic that pollutes our oceans and waterways has severe impacts on our environment and our economy”.

According to a 2014 report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), plastic pollution causes at least US $13 billion of damage each year to industries that include fishing, shipping, tourism and the cleaning of coastlines.