Nigerian port mainly categorized into four complexes based on geographical locations, (1) Lagos (2) Rivers (3) Delta and (4) Calabar. These Nigerian coastal areas are major source of vast verities of resources such as energy, minerals and most importantly food. Advancement and industrialization are main factors in developing human societies that result in irreversible loss to natural infrastructure and turnout into waste. Currently most of the advancement is uncontrolled along the coastal zones without taking into consideration of safety and concerns of natural Eco setups. Most of these activities turnout as haphazard exploitation of natural resources in term of presenting danger and loss to future generations. Synthetic plastic debris cause massive contamination at high scale in marine ecological system. Plastics are generally resistant to any natural degradation mechanism and this cause serious and challenging problem for the survival of aquatic and marine wildlife. This research study is based on carefully evaluation and review of various causes, impact and possible solutions associated with Nigerian coastal marine debris pollution. This study identifies and analyse the various practises for management and disposal of the waste at coastal zone of Nigeria, specifically at Lagos and Delta regions, which has been considered as socioeconomic pillars for Nigerian economy. It emphasizes on the proper management practices and finding alternative solution to minimize and eradicate this problem. Various initiatives and programmes have been evaluated in this study which are undergoing implementation phase by Nigerian Government, concerned agencies and International organizations. International organization expressed their serious concerns over the conservation and sustainable preservation of biotic and abiotic resources along the Nigeria coastal zones. In this regards various national and international programs and policies are setting up through the collaboration of UNESCO and International environmental organizations for monitoring and assessment various factor causing this irreplaceable loss to the ecosystem at Nigerian Port.



























N                                         North

E                                                        East

DDT                             Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane

%                             Percentage

MARPOL                Marine Pollution

UNEP-GPA                             United Nations Environment

Programme-Global Programme

of Action

WCO                                               World Customs Organization

GCI                        Green Customs Initiative

MEA                         Multilateral Environmental


NESREA                  National Environmental

Standards and Regulations

Enforcement Agency

IMO                          International Maritime


GIS                            Geographical Information










Figure 1.1: Geographical Map of NigeriaPorts12

Figure 2.1: Nigerian Coastal line19

Figure 3.1: Plastic debris                                                                                28




















ABSTRACT                                                                                                       iv


 ABBREVIATIONS                                                                                              vi

LIST OF FIGURES                                                                                            vii

CHAPTER ONE                                                                                                 10

1.1 INTRODUCTION                                                                                10

CHAPTER TWO                                         14

2.1LITERATURE CITED                                                                      14

2.2 METHODOLOGY                                                                            18

2.2.1 STUDY AREA                                                                                  18

CHAPTER THREE                                                                                            20


3.1.1 SHIP OIL SPILLS                                                                           20

3.1.2 SHIPS WASTEWATER DISCHARGE                                           22

3.1.3 SOLID WASTE                                                                               22

3.1.4 SHIP BALLAST-WATER DISCHARGE                                         22

3.1.5 MARINE MACHINERY EXHAUST                                                23

3.1.6 SHIP BOTTOM PAINTS                                                                23

3.1.7 NOISE POLLUTION                                                                      23

3.1.8 ENERGY POLLUTANTS                                                               24

3.1.9 BIOLOGICAL POLLUTANTS                                                        24

3.1.10 SYNTHETIC WASTE                                                                  25

3.1.11 EXTRANEOUS POLLUTANTS                                                    26


3.2.1 DELETERIOUS EFFECTS ON MARINE LIFE                              28

3.2.2 MICRO PLASTICS A SERIOUS CONSEQUENCE                       29

3.2.3 HARMFUL EFFECTS FOR HUMANS                                           30


3.3.1 NATIONAL GUIDELINES AND REGULATION                              34



3.3.3 PORT INSPECTION PRACTICES                                                35





DISCUSSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS                                         38








Nigerian ports are mainly categorized into four complexes based on geographical locations, (1) Lagos (2) Rivers (3) Delta and (4) Calabar. Among all of these, The Port Lagos is considered as most important regarding Nigerian cargo handling. This post also accommodates export of crude oils as it has specialized terminals for oil tankers. This post complex has Apapa (at large quays) and Tin Can facilities (at west of Apapa). Apapa is considered as principle cargo port linked with country’s system through rail network. The River port complex, well recognized due to Port Harcourt which is located at Sixty-six Kilometres from sea at Bonny River toward east of Nigerian rail connections. Delta port is a complex of Sapele, Warri, and some small towns at Niger River. It has established docking facilities. Fourth and last is a Calabar port, which is eighty- three kilometres long (above the Cross River) at eastern side of Lagos port.  Since last many decades, port Harcout and Burutu, served main role for Nigerian crude oil export, as these ports provide advanced services (World Factbook, 1991)

Advancement and industrialization are main factors in developing human societies that result in irreversible loss to natural infrastructure and turnout into waste. The Waste is broad category and comprises of various kinds of discarded materials. Nature of waste materials is continuously changing in parallel and directly, due to ongoing advancement and industrialization since approximately last 40 years. This direct relationship has introduced mainly plastics (in the form of synthetic materials) in to the waste as major portion.On daily bases nearly all kind of human garbage (mostly synthetic plastics) end up its way to dump into oceanic environment. Therefore, term Marine Debris address to the all garbage, rubbish and waste present on the world beaches and in the oceans, for which humans are exclusively responsible. Sources of Marine Pollution from Ships are: Oily-water discharge from ships, Tanker accidents include accidental spillage during terminal loading, Wastewater discharged from ships, Garbage and Other Solid waste, Ballast-water discharged from ships at ports, Marine Machinery Exhaust, Anti-fouling Paints, Sound pollution. Current emerging scenario of this human activity results in astonishing facts that marine debris is world’s major oceanic pollution problem, that is causing inevitable damage to the oceanic life (Sheavly 2005).

Coastal areas are major source of vast verities of resources such as energy, minerals and most importantly food.  But in reward human activity is a threat for these resources and result in very complex and conflicting issue. There are various indicators which arise due human interruption by their activity in costal lines and these indicators provide clear alarming signals such as fragile and damaged ecosystems. Currently most of the advancement is uncontrolled along the coastal zones without taking into consideration of safety and concerns of natural Eco setups. Most of these activities turnout as haphazard exploitation of natural resources in term of presenting danger and loss to future generations. For instance, major port “The Delta complex” represent evidenced based scenario of this tremendous ecosystem degradation due to oil production and uncontrolled industrialization and development at infrastructure level. These developments in return result in major changes which further impart dynamic and adverse effects on living conditions including environment of local human societies. It shows a cyclic association of interdependency of vital relationship between human and environment that result in inevitable effects on the whole, ultimately affecting human societies. Current interaction shapes a complex situation and concerns about human security, equity and sustainable ecosystem for future generations. Therefore, taking into account complex and conflicting interactions of this association, there is need of the hour to address this issue as priority and human responsibility (Etuonovbe, 2008).

It has been observed that along with the infrastructure advancement and economic growth, there is a rapid increase in population growth in Deltaregion since last decades. This economic growth imparts great beneficial effects on entire Nigerian society (Twumasi and Merem, 2006).Delta complex is also known as The Niger Delta Region of Nigeria and formerly it was a British colony. Geographically it is surrounded on north side by Niger, south side by Atlantic Ocean and on west side by Benin (Figure 1.1). Delta complex consist of various rivers and creeks. This region mainly covers approximately 112,110 square Kilometres. That represent 12 percent of total area of the country. According to records in 1991 its populations was 20 million that is 23 percent of the total Nigerian population. Government sources provide the information about increase in population up to 27 million in 2005 (NNDC 2005; NASPA, 2011).

Figure 1.1Geographical Map of Nigeria Ports.Adapted from NASPA (2011)

This region has established its position in national growth and development profile of Nigeria due to increasing economic impact and population growth. This region embarks upon exceptional phase of economic development in 21st century. Unfortunately, this unprecedented phase is linked with severe kind of challenges for the environment of Delta region. These challenges are driven by various human activities such as construction for housing, transportation, gas and oil exploration, demographic changes and economic developments. The continuity in these activities is creating environmental issue such as loss of wetlands along coastal zones, degradation of natural habitat, polluted water sources and damage to natural forest and result in subsequent outcomes (NASPA, 2011).

This situation call for immediate and practical approach towards theproblem, to provide safe hand for these natural resources. There is need to find out sensible and wise solutions that can establish a balance between conservation of resources and economic advancement for the sustainability of countries. Current scenario reveals very well that previous initiatives lack the effort for implementation.  This study has been designed to search and investigate the cause, issues and various incidences at Nigerian ports regarding damaged environmental structure and with emphasis towards efforts to find out possible solutions for saving these natural resources. Therefore, aim of the study is to analyse methods of reducing plastic debris in Nigerian ports with following comprehensive objectives.


  1. To identify and discuss major causes of marine debris pollution.
  2. To critically review the deleterious effect of plastic debris to Nigerian ports
  3. To identify and analyse the recent initiatives taken by the Nigerian ports

authority in combating marine debris pollution.

  1. To identify and discuss possible ways to enhance the control and lasting

solution over this type of pollution.











There is very scarce information available regarding impact of marine debris pollution in Nigerian coastal ports and open oceanic waters. Nearly no information about open oceanic waters, due to lack of previous investigational studies and appropriate attention towards this issue. Poor countries like Nigeria are among those in which oceanic resources are main source for providing nourishment and livelihood for their people. A huge number of local residents solely relay upon these oceanic sources for food (source of protein) and aquaculture support, therefore in this way, approximately 540 million people are connected to this major oceanic reservoir directly and indirectly (Akankali and Elenwo, 2015).

Marin Transportation is considered one of the important pillars for nation’s economic growth and development. In spite of this fact, association between environments and transportation is paradoxical and multidimensional in nature (Abowei et al., 2011). Nowadays marine pollution is emerging as major challenges due to its enormous effects which are ranging from damage to aquatic growth, affecting fauna and flora, loss of surface water quality, destroy coastal ecosystem, lack of facilities and ultimately affecting human health of man (Idukand Samson, 2015). Because these impacts of marine pollution most likely to impart adverse effects which degrade or alter the ecosystem and environment and turns into most extensive climatic conditions, which are harsh in term of suitability to support the life at these coastal zones. Most of the indigenous livings species lack the ability to survive in these worst environmental conditions and lack of ability to tolerate, combat and   adaptability results in eradication, extinction and loss of natural biodiversity. Similarly, thermal shocks destroy most of the aquatic life. Thermal shocks generally also cause deleterious physiological effects such as they affect badly growth and reproduction, hence pose a severe damage for aquatic species (Elenwo and Akankali, 2015).

Previous studies analyse direct impact of transportation on the environment is quality of air, climate change, noise, polluted waters, eutrophication, environmental toxicity, loss of biodiversity, diseases, environmental effect of shipping, algal bloom, cyanotoxins, parasites, friendly floaters, oceanic waste and garbage, hypoxia, invasive species, heavy metal toxicity, marine debris, nutrients pollution, acidification and deoxygenation are prominent issues regarding pollution due to marine transportation in Nigeria (Abowei et al., 2011). In addition to these cause overfishing also a reason for loss of biodiversity and generally results in species extinction, that in turn cause stress over other resources and present the problem of limitation of resources. Due to these facts most of the coastal area have been declared as unsuitable for visiting or recreational activities due to unhygienic conditions including sewage, plastics, agriculture waste, run-off and pesticides. All of these are generally account for 80 percent of Marine debris pollution in Nigeria (Akankali and Elenwo, 2015).

Previous studies review this issue related to one of the most important cargo port of the Nigeria that is The Niger Delta.  Research study recognize that this region is rich reservoir of terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity, hence very important for providing livelihood for residents of this area. Along with that this biodiversity helps in stabilizing the natural ecosystem of this region. Research analysis found remarkable changes in wetland region. Study showed that most likely cause of pollution is the interruption of human activities. This Delta complex region has many flare pits (mines) which are also the major source of scorching and burning heat. This harsh temperature conditions are also responsible for destruction of wildlife over the range of considerable large area within the Delta Niger region. This further cause drastic change and reduction in natural population density of indigenous species related to fauna and flora (Elenwo and Akankali, 2015; Okonkwo et al., 2015).

Research study has been conducted about the marine pollution in major industrially established cities at the coastal zone of the port Lagos, Warri and Harcourt. Various hazardous conditions have been observed during this study such as oil spills, untreated waste and sewage, hot and toxic effluents, extensive discharge of hot emissions and derbies along coastal line of these busiest ports of the country. In addition to these issue, flare heat pits are also important source of pollution because these pits are associated with gases which are main source of thermal pollution in coastal zone. Regarding oils spills in Nigeria, 1,581 reports (from 1970 till 1982) mentioned two million barrels’ oil spillage. While later reports showed 242 spills in 1998 and 319 spills in 1999. In addition to it, records showed total 2796 oil spills from 1976 to 1990. Collectively, it has been estimated that total 2797 oil spill incidences have been take place, which account for wastage of 2, 105,393 Barrels of oil (Elenwo and Akankali, 2015).

There are various aspects of marine debris pollution which contribute towards overall problem such as different types of waste, their nature and various methods employed for their disposal. There is one study conducted to investigate the ongoing practices for disposal of hospital waste at Harcourt Port of Nigeria. In this study, report was developed after observing and estimating daily waste from five hospitals for the period of six months. Study results revealed that these hospitals were generating 20.4 kg non-hazardous waste and 5.53 kg hazardous waste per day. Study findings revealed that all of these hospitals fail to maintain the recommended waste management practice schedule. Their practices didn’t involve the proper categorization of waste, maintenance of record, waste handling and implementation of various recommended strategies for reduction of waste (Ogbonna et al., 2012). Similar study was conducted in another group of five hospitals and result showed huge percentage of waste including hazardous (35%) and non-hazardous (35%). Hospital waste management practices include creating open dumpsites for solid waste and flushing into sink for liquid waste, which ultimately cause pollution in environment and ground water sources. These kind of practices are major sources of health risk for the population (Ogbonna, 2011). Reports regarding solid waste showed that it poses severe impact in Lagoon, particularly Lekki, Nigeria, where this solid waste has been observed as major contributor of pollution at highest level (UNEP, 2004a).

Studies showed that industrial and household activities were mainly responsible to generate large portion of non-hazardous waste at the Port of Harcourt, Nigeria (UNEP/ SoE Report, 2006). Therefore, this problem presents very challenging scenario for the Nigeria, because recent reports and studies provide very clear evidences about the industrial contribution towards this marine environmental pollution. Mostly petrochemical, fertilizer and oil producing companies largely contribute toward this problem (Akankali and Elenwo, 2015). In order to deal with this emerging challenge there are several key concerns and aspects which require immediate attention and focus, to find the solution of this problem. There is need to conduct detailed and comprehensive investigational studies in affected coastal areas to analyse the changes in the coastal ecosystem. Furthermore, there is need to study the impact of these changes, requirement of development of appropriate framework to make arrangement for these changes, successful implementation and regulatory practices (Twumasi and Merem, 2006).

Various studies revealed that main reason of this emerging challenges is lack of attention and efforts towards protection of marine environment (Iduk and Samson, 2015). Therefore, this research study has been conducted to assess the above mentioned key concerns and possible flaws in system so that they can be address properly to provide the suggestions and recommendations for the improvement of coastal environment of Nigerian ports.













This research study is based on the already available records and information about four major Port systems of Nigeria regarding various coastal situations and climatic condition due to marine debris pollution. It includes combinatorial approach involving the assimilation of primary and secondary data record provided through data bases from other organizations, government sources, workshops and conferences.

2.2.1 The Study Area:

Study area is consisting of Nigerian coast lines (include all four major ports) cover about 860 kilometres alongside of Atlantic Ocean. It is surrounded by The Republic of Benin on the west side, while Republic of Cameron is situated on the east side. Generally, it is situated between 40 10’N latitude and 60 20’N, longitude 20 45’E and 80 35’E, that is adjacent side of Guinea. Map of coastal regions of Nigeria is shown in figure 2.1. Common characteristics of coastal lines is low lying geographic position. Nigerian coastal lines have been categorized into four regions based on characteristic differences in vegetation, coastal zone and morphology. These regions are Transgress Mud Coast, Niger Delta, Barrier Lagoon Coast and Strand Coast. This region of Nigerian coastline is surrounded by five creeks in north and by Atlantic Ocean in south (Tin Can and Apapa Port is located there). These island beach drastically suffered with degradation due to anthropogenic and natural factors since past decades (Sexton and Murday, 1994).















Figure 2.1Adapted from Sexton and Murday (1994). Nigerian Coastal line.  Niger Delta region is the main area which dominate the coast line of Nigeria. River “The Benue” join the River Niger and stream down into the region of Delta.










Survey study was conducted about living reservoir of coastal areas of Nigeria for the period of May 17th till June 6th, 2009 by Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research, Lagos, which revealed that there is very strong association between degree of marine debris and various biological species (NIOMR Reports, 2009). Analytical reports revealed that inappropriate procedures are in use for disposal of domestic and industrial waste in the coastal area which pollute the coastal and open oceanic waters. This result in significant impact on the biotic and abiotic factors of the environment, which further turn into degraded ecosystem. A group working from congress on the United states marine pollution define the term of marine pollution as “Introduction of man directly or indirectly of substances or energy into the marine (estuarine) environment resulting in such deleterious effects as harm to living resources, hazard to human health, hindrance to marine activities including fishing, impairment of quality for the use of sea water and reduction of amenities” (JESAMP Report,1998).

3.1 Major causes of marine debris pollution:

3.1.1Ship oil spills:

Crude oil pollution is generally associated with oil spill cause by ship through various accidental incidents. During the transportation and shipment, gas and chemical carriers and oil tankers are inclined to dispose to the normal sea by various incidence including fire, explosion, grounding, and collision. In addition to this various activity related to exploration, transpiration and exploitation of gas, oil and its derivatives, results in various kinds of catastrophic events. Where as there are very devastating affects from the daily basis activities or operations taking place at the ports in spite of the fact that some effectives measure also included in the daily practices to reduce oil spillage. Port site may generally encounter various issues such as malfunctioning of valves, pipes, leakage, or rupture of pumps that can lead to oil spillage during loading and discharge at the oil terminals near offshore area (Akankli and Oronsaye, 2012). Generally various activities at operational ship power plants also contribute towards oil pollution such as spillage of fuel oil, lubricating oil, grease cause emulsification in water and if this drain out into sea without treatment (through oil water separator), cause marine oil pollution. Similarly, if ship blast water is mixed with oil contents and discharge into the open sea, or ship cleaning water (which mainly contain solid matters, detergents and rusty scales due to corrosion) also get disposed off into the sea, is a source of marine water pollution (Samson, 2014).

Operational activities also involve oil spillage during lubricating engines with oil or loading oil bunker. Loading involves very careful and observatory practice as if operational persons doesn’t monitor the level of oil, it can result in overflow. Crude oil causes the chemical pollution and most important type of marine pollution. It should include into exclusive discussion for its reduction. Because there are various factors and concerns due to which it falls in the category of top most pollutant. Crude oil is major source for various derivatives which are key items and are of global importance based on their economic impact in the world.

Nowadays, crude oil products are driving the economy of the world. Therefore, primarily production of crude oil and its demand is increasing at high rate day by day. Which further crucial for the expansion of number of oil fields all over the world. Geographic facts revealed that most of the oil reservoirs are present either offshore, near shore or onshore. These locations than become the focused sites for the developments of various facilities such as oil refineries and transportation. This scenario is very clear at Delta Niger complex port site and labelled as Niger Delta Militancy, mainly due to ongoing socio-economic regional conflicts. Since last decades’ incidence of oil pollution are being escalating. Nigerian economy is mainly based upon oil production and particularly Delta region. Whereas it has been observed that this Delta region ecological sensitive area for various aquatic sources and fisheries. Continuous oil producing activities result in reduction of aquatic density. This further affect the local peoples as they face the limitation of professions and think about shifting to some other sources. This is also major cause of regional violence in any nation (Akankli and Oronsaye, 2012).

3.1.2Ships Wastewater discharge:

There are two different types of waste water generated by on board ships (1) Grey water (2) Black water. The term Black water generally include toilets waste and medical facilities, which consist of various pathogenic bacteria, viruses, harmful nutrients and intestinal parasites. Whereas grey water include soap, household chemicals, detergents (which are rich in microbial pathogens, nitrates and phosphate). Any of this kind of water discharge into oceanic reservoirs cause damage and impairments in natural environmental structures. Very common examples are algal blooms over in coastal waters which are serious health issue for humans as well (Lioyd, 2010).

3.1.3Solid Waste:

Solid wastes include mainly various kinds of litter, garbage and non-oil pollutants, mainly produced by ships and on-board vessels in thousand tons per year. Without involvement of any pre-treatment or regulations mostly these kinds of wastes disposed of into the sea water or river water bodies. Solid waste also includes plastics, aluminium, or steel cans, cardboard, paper, and glass which generally produced on ships involving various activities. These kind of waste could be hazardous or non-hazardous. This solid waste contributes mainly in marine debris and present the major threat to human, marine life, coastal life zone including residents and industries that use marine water (UNEP/FAO-UN Report, 2009; EIS Report, 2014).

3.1.4 Ship Ballast-water discharge:

Since there has been introduced a technology (approximately 120 years ago), that is ballast water discharge. It main purpose it is to provide the safety, efficiency in ship operations and to stabilize the ships. But this also linked with some economic, ecological and health issues. The reason behind this issue is that this ship ballast water gets carried away a vast variety of marine species. It includes microbes, bacteria, small invertebrates, cysts, larvae and eggs or many aquatic species. This activity than lead into various different and unpredictable outcomes in aquatic life such as transfer or damage to the aquatic species, which further may survive, reproduce into new environment or habitat and result in evolution of new species which could compete native species strongly and hence drive species drift in nature. Therefore, these activities directly or indirectly are the sources for these emerging pollution challenges in various irreversible attributes.

3.1.5Marine Machinery Exhaust:

In addition to marine water pollution there some other kind of pollutant such as ship exhaust emissions and they cause significant air pollution. These exhaust emissions contain sulphur contents which mix with rain water and cause acid rain. Acid rain affect badly crops and buildings. In addition, as sulphur become the part of air that cause respiratory problems in human and increase risk for heart attacks and other health complications. European environmental coalition state that most of the sea water quality is at high risk due to the addition of sulphur contents, primarily from oil tankers and containers from ships approximately more than 50 times more in comparison with cargo (that carried Iorry per metric ton). Furthermore, marine diesel engine emission also contributes toward ozone and carbon monoxide depletion which ultimately linked with various health issues. All the factor collectively associated with acid deposition, nitrification of water bodies and eutrophication. Incinerators in onboard ships burn large amount of plastics, garbage and other waste materials that produce ash, need proper disposal. Along with this burning activity these incinerators produce huge amount of emission which are very toxic in nature. Such as volatile organic compound produced by burning of Bunker fuel (Lisa and Shruti, 2013).

3.1.6Ship Bottom Paints:

There are some specialized bottom paints are in use known as Antifouling paints, which generally use with the purpose to gradually release the poison into surrounding sea water. This paint contains poisonous material that is soluble in water and immediately cause water toxicity for the aquatic life. This paint includes various types of compounds including copper which serve as antifouling agents. These compounds have characteristic of bioaccumulation in marine wild life and cause life threatening damage to various aquatic species including crustaceans and bivalves (Lisa and Shruti. 2013).

3.1.7 Noise pollution:

Recently very rapid industrialization and advancement has increased transportation and shipping activities on the ports which cause serious issue of sound pollution. Mostly noise produce by ship are long distance sounds, that cause a serious challenge for those aquatic or marine species which use sound waves for their communication, feeding and orientation and get easily harmed by this serious kind of disturbance. This issue has been exclusively raised as challenging threat by The convention held to discuss conservation of marine migratory species (EIS Report, 2014).

3.1.8 Energy pollutants:

Energy exist in various forms and highly variable terminology regarding its production sources which are either present naturally or artificially created by man. Man made activities continuously exploiting these resources for his own benefit without considering of setting a safety limit for the nature and various ecosystems. There are various forms of energies such as heat, noise, nuclear, solar (Ultraviolet and other types of radiations and vibration. Man is using these various kinds of energies to drive most of socioeconomic activities (noise is exception). Astonishingly, a very significant part of these various form of energies ends up in the marine od aquatic ecosystems, this known as thermal energy residues, which ultimately derive thermal pollution. Furthermore, this thermal pollution provides thermal shocks to the large number of aquatic and marine organisms causing deaths or physiological damage at large scale (Eckenfelder et al., 2009; Akankli and Oronsaye, 2012).

3.1.9 Biological pollutants:

Naturally organisms have various life processes which are necessary for their survival. These life processes are also contributor toward marine debris pollutions because they produce such kind of pollutants which impart unavoidable impact on aquatic ecosystem. Biological pollutants include faeces, urine and various other by-products of decay process takes place in dead or living organisms. Rapid geometric growth in human population is significantly associated with increased demand for the food, which in turn cause more demand to produce more amount of crops and animals. The series of events ultimately ends up to produce huge amount of the biological waste that dispose off into the aquatic bodies or resources. This issue is very common and obvious in those urban areas which have well established and rich industrialized areas. These urban areas discard their municipal waste directly into water resources. Studies noticed that Port Lagos (Nigeria) is facing same issue, where lagoon get badly polluted due to haphazard disposal of human waste without any pre-treatment and result in black colouration of water bodies and smell like ammonia. That provide very clear indication of highly polluted water due to high dumping load of biological pollutants. This cause rapid decrease in aquatic life and wipeout primary producers of the ecological zones. Therefore, it’s a very clear that mostly human waste is major source of marine pollution and it is associated with various human health complications. Generally, this trend is very common that most Nigerian village areas or rural establishments inclined to dispose off septic tanks into coastal area. Common category of biological pollutants includes domestic sewage, paper mills, effluent and agriculture waste. These kind of waste generally cause oxygen depletion in water bodies and result in serious consequences to the aquatic organisms(Browneet al. 2011; Akankli and Oronsaye, 2012).

3.1.10 Synthetic waste:

There is another category of pollutant which is well recognised as synthetic pollutant based upon their production sources. Synthetic pollutants are those substances and materials which synthesized, or artificial formulization of the compounds by human at industrial level. Generally formulated compounds include drugs, raw materials, herbicides and pesticides. Biohazardous potential of these compounds basically depend upon the active constituents which used for these formulations. Most of them are not biodegradable easily hence they impart long lasting environmental affects. Pesticides fall in this category of synthetic pollutants. Synthetic pollutant classified into two major categories (1) Organo-phosphorus class (2) Organo-chlorine class. Organo-phosphorus compounds are less toxic because they are less stable and less persistent in the environment. Whereas, Organo-chlorine include pharmaceuticals, pesticides such as dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), plastics and cosmetic products. All of these are non-biodegradable and have potential to persist in the environment for longer time. Generally, pesticides used in land agricultural practices but ultimately they get drain into water bodies, hence affecting badly aquatic organisms (IGST, 2000).

Among various types of synthetic pollutants, plastic is most problematic and noticeable litter because of these three reasons (1) they are floating materials and remain afloat until recovered (2) non- biodegradable (3) due to lack of appropriate disposal, plastic cause footprints of carbon. There is need for proper disposal and development of proper recycling strategies. United nation analytical programme estimated in 2006, that each square mile of oceanic area contains approximately 46,000 pieces of plastics in floating form (UNEP/FAO-UN Report, 2009). Therefore, plastic is an emerging warning for the marine pollution because it contains particulate matter including acrylic and polyester compounds mainly around the shorelines (Browne et al. 2011)

3.1.11 Extraneous pollutants:

Extraneous pollutants are comprising of those types of pollutants which can not be easily categorized. Generally, it includes various activities like ploughing into large area of lands, runoff water flow into sea and sedimentation process around coastal zone. Most of these factors include silt as pollutants. Main source of extraneous pollutants is non point source due to run off. Some other sources include leakages (from small sources) from cars, tanks, trucks boats, or major sources such as farms, forest and ranches. Dust, dirt, oil mixed with water and drain off into various local water bodies which ultimately emptied into major water reservoirs, where these pollutants settle down and cause harmful affect to marine organisms and their habitat (IGST, 2000).












Synthetic plastic debris cause massive contamination at high scale in marine ecological system. Plastics are generally resistant to any natural degradation mechanism and this cause serious and challenging problem for the survival of aquatic and marine wildlife (Sheavly, 2005). Various observational studies in poor countries like Nigeria, revealed that there are many attributes and activities throughout country that are responsible for the introduction of plastics as pollutants, in to the aquatic life systems. Currently it has been considered as a natural disaster because of the fact that shows 78% hazardous is comprising of plastics and related toxic chemicals. This cause serious health risk for humans and other organisms. Taking into account these facts it seems that plastics is a top culprit. In addition to creating health issue, plastics also cause damaging effects on infrastructure. They cause blockage in drainage or sewage system.

Nowadays, socioeconomic practices are major sources for the production of these hazardous plastic waste. Such as plastics are used in the form of sachets for packaging food and consumables. After use these sachets become the part of streets due to improper disposal practices (Fig 3.1). Nigeria has various plastic industries mainly running by the Indian and Chinese people who generally don’t care about these aspects of human health and environmental concerns. These plastic industries don’t employ proper checks and monitoring for type and quality of plastics (contain chemicals or biological contamination) used for recycling. (Abah, J.  A. Nigeria: The Problem of Wastes and Plastics. (


Figure 3.1:Plastic debris. Adapted from Abah


3.2.1 Deleterious effects on marine life:

Every year there are reports about deaths of millions of seabirds and more than 100,000 marine animals due to plastic debris. This scenario is get worst in some coastal areas where this plastic debris gets concentrated with other kinds of litter and oceanic currents become highly contaminated with this marine pollution. It is very evident that plastic waste cause ecological damage on vast scale both on marine and land as well. The marine ecosystem is very complex. Marine organisms feed on other small faunas and flora or may be feed themselves. They interlinked in an ecosystem in term of prey and predator. But this plastic polluted environment poses challenges to both of them.  Toxic chemicals gradually absorb in to the aquatic water reservoirs and cause the health damage which result in extinction of species and create imbalance in the ecosystem. Plastic particular matter present in huge amount in water bodies, and fish swallow plastics as considering it food, that cause life threatening harm to them. Zooplanktons are the source of feed for the most of the marine organisms. These zooplanktons heavily contaminated with plastic debris in the form of thick layers. Due to this mistakenly fish swallowed these plastic coated foods. That cause massive damage in terms of injuries and deaths to these fish as off and on in news and updates shows pictures of dolphins and whales entrapped in nets. These have become already endangered animals (NIMASA, 2014). It has also seen that marine birds get entrapped mistakenly (taking it as pray) or eat these plastics, which injuries and damage to them. Study record showed that there are approximately 267 various species, which are known for these kind suffering such as ingestion or entanglement into marine plastic debris. These species are seabirds, sea lions, whales, fish and turtles. After disposal in to the water bodies these plastic debris get eroded and weathered into small pieces which spread and remain floating into whole open sea water including coastal areas (Elenwo and Akankali, 2015).

3.2.2 Micro plastics, A Serious Consequence:

There are series of consequences which are associated with plastics in various form and at various phases. Small pieces of plastics produce another kind of pollutants known as micro plastic waste, which are adding up to this challenging issue (Browne et al., 2011). It is very clear that these plastics generally remain persistently at coastal areas for uotp 400 years. Plastic litter from cruise and cargo ships, fishing nets, wastes from plastics industry and landfills and beach litter. There are some examples in which discarded gears proved harmful for the fish as they entangle the aquatic animals (Elenwo and Akankali, 2015). Mainly these micro plastic become the source of food and ingested by marine animals and transferred to the human as a food source (shellfish and fish). These micro plastics remain in the body tissue for longer period of time probably till months. Various Forensic techniques identify the micro plastic in huge amount mostly at populated coastal areas. The cause for this contaminations are contents from washing machine (household activities). During washing activities, generally from single garment approximately, 1900 fibres particles easily rinse off and drain into the water into shorelines. This is an emerging problem for future that draw the focus toward finding the immediate and sustainable solutions (Browne et al., 2011)

3.2.3 Harmful effects for Humans:

Plastic pollution is a major source of contamination which poison most of the consumables of human food chain. Sea food which is already contaminated with plastic and toxin end up in daily food, that leads toward health complications such as food poisoning. This ultimately cause the heavy economical loss to the shipping and fishing industry (Elenwo and Akankali, 2015). There are also some other associated direct or indirect consequences of plastic pollution. Such as in daily use after utilization plastics stuff wherever end up in our homes, that generally if going to recycling processing that once again become a source of pollution with various health risks. Recycled plastics again entered into utility in the form of containers for food or water. It has been investigated that these containers gradually and invisibly adding harmful and toxic compounds into our food. This situation is more worst if these containers used for heating food items. During heating these harmful substances get easily squeezed into food items and most of them are carcinogenic (have potential to cause cancer), some are estrogenic (cause negative effects on reproductive systems) and some are poisonous (NIMASA, 2014).


Besides direct impact on human health marine debris also affect the human lives as well such as its daily routine common observation that plastic bags cause problems for recreational boast because once entangled they cause blockage I water intake and result burning out of water pumps. Ships and boats derelict gear by nets or entangled around rudders and propellers, it causes damage that need costly repair (Sheavly 2005).


Plastic pollutant gradually perpetuate into the marine ecological systems, similarly these components have potential to tilt down into soil sediments and disturb the envirmental balance. Crop plants absorb and draw the soil nutrients and then these nutrients become the part of food that transfer to the human as food chain.  For example, earthworm is a soil dwelling organism, and it has been observed that they face serious problem in those kinds of plastic contaminated soils as it need to make them struggle against these plastics. Earthworm activity is very beneficial for the agricultural lands, as cause bore in upper layers of the soil and create open pores which become the source of aeriation for deeper soil layers that cause soil rich and fertile for crop plants (NIMASA, 2014).


Detailed analysis and keen observation of the complete situation revealed that it is very crucial to deny of this fact that plastics has great potential for advancement in future because it is promising for the economic development. It very difficult to get away plastics from daily life pattern. But taking into account all these above mentioned serious consequences there is need to try to solve this issue by involving new investigational studies which could come up with promising solutions or alternatives, such as biodegradable plastics. This whole initiative and research will take some time are already efforts are on their way. Along with that there is need for parallel precautionary measure as well such (1) as daily practices should be encouraging towards avoidable use of plastics (2) careful management of the plastic waste and disposal by proper segregation, (3) proper treatments by incineration and (4) Appropriate disposal of incinerated residues in marine environment. All of these initiatives and practices can be properly implemented and regulated by Nigerian environmental collection agencies on priority basis and with responsibility. There is need for causing awareness that markets and shopping items packaging should be preferable in paper rather than plastic. Beyond this fact that plastics are more impressive due to its characterises which are making it better choice for transportation and shipping, but now there is need to make wise decision. There is need to develop legislation and polices at solid basis. It need collective and collaborative effort being a part of this ecosystem and considering individual’s responsibility, this initiative can be start within home and our environment (NIMASA, 2014).





Nigerian coastal line is about 840 kilometres long and it constitute the most important social and economic sectors for the improvement of life quality of Nigerian population (more than 40%). Since recent times, most of the industrial and domestic activities interfere the coastal areas and cause sever degradation to the coastal environment. This study keen evaluates and analyse the association between residential coastal areas of Nigeria, particularly Delta region and solid waste disposal. This main purpose of this study was to determine possible causes, patterns and response to provide suitable suggestions for the development framework and subsequent legislations.  It is very clear that there are number of factors which contribute toward this situation such as poverty, lack of funding and institutional networking, attitudinal notions and ignorance. These factors ultimately result into the deterioration of marine and coastal enviromement. Hence its seems that there is need to implement acceptable initiatives at local basis and formulate sensitive measures to monitor and guard properly the extent of degradation, linked with practicing penalty over misconductance or ignorance to ensure the safety of marine and coastal environment in Nigeria (Andrew-Essien et al., 2011).

Consideringpotential danger on fishing, industries and health sectors, due to marine debris, there is need to initiate proper actions on immediate basis and with consistency to reduce quantitative load of marine debris at Nigerian coastal zones. These programs should include proper schedule for workshops, communications and training for correct disposal of waste into marine environment. There is also need to make sure that these periodic session or campaigns held accordingly and consistently (Oguguah et al., 2011).

Facts showed that there is rapid increase in the coastal area population would be double around 300 to 500,00 residents in next ten years, along the Nigerian coastal line surrounded by the Gulf of Guinea. Main reason of this population increase is the socioeconomic developments in this Nigerian coastal areas. These coastal areas provide various kinds of business opportunities for the local population such as commerce, tourism and recreation. That in return strengthen the national economy. But Apart from this, population increase is also an indicator of increasing anthropogenic interruption in these coastal areas, that cause drastic environmental changes. As it increases the vulnerability of beach sites as dumping grounds of marine debris. Respective Nigerian environmental agencies including Federal Ministry of Education and Department Resources are out crying over this situation and challenging scenario. Ground realities revealed that there is still complete failure in order to design effective legislation and appropriate solid waste disposal and management facilities for the garbage and huge amount of the waste from different main stream resources such as point and non-point sources. There is an immediate need for the coordinated and well integrated program to combat the pollution at coastal area. These programs should emphasize over the proper involvements of the local community participation for the successful implementation of core practices to improve environmental standards (Atu et al., 2011).

These programs should also include details and information about the management plan as well for terrestrial waters and clean-up practices for costal area. It could strengthen with establishing awareness programs through education, collaboration at industrial and governmental level (to make sure the reduction or prevention of plastic usage). Currently, Nigerian Government specifically, Nigerian port authority is in the phase on implementing MARPOL (is short for marine pollution) after appropriate provision of various kinds of waste reception and management facilities at Nigerian Ports. It is also considering the collaboration and involvement subsequent respective government and non-government agencies. In this regard a plan is underway to design national action plan to combat the marine debris through the collaborative efforts of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and safety Agency and United Nations Environment Programme- Global Programme of Action (UNEP-GPA) (NIMASA, 2014).In 2011 (September 13th and 15th), third African National Training Workshop was held about SBC e-waste Africa Project, Lagos, Nigeria.

The third African national training workshop of the SBC e-waste Africa Project (Component 4) was held on 13th – 15th September 2011. in Lagos, Nigeria. This training workshop highlight the key concerns, facts, legislative efforts and initiatives which were in consideration for implementation. Workshop forum declared Nigeria as most important recipient of E-waste in continent Africa. It had been shared that government had developed the policy draft, strategic plan and guidelines for the E-waste management, in addition to this regulation for electronic and electric sectors had been announced. Furthermore, Federal ministry is heading toward the development of pilot project for the recycling of E-waste in Nigeria. This training workshop recommended the following guidelines and regulation for Nigerian marine debris pollution.

3.3.1 National Guidelines and Regulation Nigerian marine debris pollution:

Nigeria is currently facing pollution problem at huge scale, particularly regarding its management and its due high rate of waste generation. That shows very alarming situation and demands for immediate steps. Weak aspects of this scenario is that Nigerian doesn’t have any proper estimation or information about the volume of E-waste that is producing throughout the country. Furthermore, lack of public awareness about toxic waste, absence of alternative choices, absence of recycling plants, or improper recycling practicing contributing this scenario in worst way and making it complex.  Due to a lot factors and poverty, Government isn’t in suitable situation to announce the ban on the import of plastic items. Taking careful review of all the challenges in the way to implement and practice advance management practices, Nigerian environmental Agencies now become able to develop successfully National Environmental Regulations in order to minimize and prevent the ancillary and operational activities in electronic and electric sector.

3.3.2E-waste Enforcement and Inspection guidelines:

TheE-waste Enforcement and Inspection guidelines are daily basis practices for Environmental Protection Authorities, Customs Authorities, (Environmental) Police, Port Authorities and others trans frontier e-waste shipments. These are key participants for the successful conductance and implementation of these guidelines through manual training and workshops (NTWN Report, 2011).

3.3.3Port Inspection Practices:

Nigeria Customs Service include documents inspection such as invoices, bill of laden, packing list, selective scanning, evaluation of risk management techniques with proper details of country of origin, description and customs declaration (NTWN Report, 2011).

3.3.4. Collaboration between Agencies through Memorandum of understanding (MOU):

Nigerian Government has embarkedon the participation in the forms of collaborations between the agencies.  This collaboration is comprising for joint practices for physical inspection of materials or goods, exchange of the information and interagency meetings. Through this collaborative efforts Nigeria has become the member of national toxic disposal watch. Furthermore, Nigerian government is step forwarding toward membership of Green Customs Initiative (GCI), World Customs Organization (WCO), and multilateral environmental agreements (MEA). Lastly, Nigeria is looking forward to sign MOU with National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) (NTWN Report, 2011).











Analytical study showed 84.7% responses which provide the clear information that marine pollution affects the economy and health at huge scale. Marine debris pollution in Nigerian water bodies and coastal sites is call for the efforts to find solutions.

  1. Core problem is the human behaviour and attitude toward any issue, due to lack of consideration and adherence to the policies and set standards for the conservation and safety of marine ecosystems. Therefore, it is s very clear now that this solution is based upon the proper and necessary implementation and enforcement of the laws by the governmental agencies including regulations by International Maritime Organization, (IMO regulations). It would ensure compliance by various operating units within the industry and will provide safety and protection to the marine and coastal environment(Iduk and Samson, 2015).
  2. There is need to conduct programs for enlightenment and re-education of the ship owners, ship crew, oil and gas exploring companies, corporate sectors, and citizen, to create concerns, responsibility for the protection of coastal and marine ecological structure. This would develop sustainable impact on Nigerian coastal zones (Akankali and Elenwo, 2015; Iduk and Samson, 2015).
  3. There is need to raise awareness about protective measures, good quality services, monitoring and conservation of wetland ecological systems. This would conserve the biodiversity of the coastal areas as Nigeria is rich area for biodiversity and this natural resources could have high impact on the national economy and development. It is also recommended that good monitoring practices should conducted by the use of advance technologies such as remote sensing and Geographical Information System (GIS) for improving management and conservation of most important ecosystem (Okonkwo et al., 2015).
  4. Particularly biological waste from hospital need careful attention as it is main source of introducing pathogenic biological hazards into to marine life forms. There is need to create awareness about handling, management and disposal of these hospital wastes in proper way. Hospital survey reports and statistical tests revealed that there is decreasing order trend about awareness, among hospital from lager hospital to the smaller ones. That explain the need of establishment of guidelines and legislations for waste management and most importantly subsequent compliance by hospitals (Ogbonna et al., 2012).





















This research study is based on carefully evaluation and review of various causes, impact and possible solutions associated with Nigerian coastal marine debris pollution. This study identifies and analyse the various practises for management and disposal of the waste at coastal zone of Nigeria, specifically at Lagos and Delta regions, which has been considered as socioeconomic pillars for Nigerian economy (Akankli and Oronsaye, 2012). This challenge of marine debris pollution is of complex nature to several associated factors as and there direct or indirect effects on various sectors including socioeconomic components. Therefore, it’s kind of interlinked issue between human society and environmental setups and variables through various attributes (Twumasi and Merem, 2006). Currently there are emerging concerns and trends draw focus toward this issue to create serious realization and subsequent response by human societies and governmental institutions in the Nigeria (Ogbonna et al., 2012). In order to address these concerns through appropriate strategy, following measures have been recommended for respective agencies and government sector, on the basis or careful evaluation of all possible aspects of this problem.


  1. Principally, on immediate basis these recommended measures include proper advocacy, education, awareness, enlightenment, economic empowerment of coastal residential communities, laws enforcement, and involvement and investigational studies conducted by scientific committees (local). These investigational committees should be facilitated properly to work with local residents to solve their concerns and problems, particularly in affected areas on priority basis.
  2. There is also need to educate the people to keep and maintain life balance in order to reduce pollution and as their own potential contribution toward environments.
  3. Advanced, quick and periodic evaluation and monitoring of water reservoirs (wetlands and rivers) and forests is needed particularly in Niger Delta coastal area. This monitoring also should include keen observation of anthropogenic factors responsible for interruption in natural ecosystem.
  4. Local resident of these Nigerian Ports are most important respondents for this problem in term of cause and affects. There is need for their active participation and volunteer efforts to minimize the factors which are contributing towards this pollution. Encouragement at governmental level for the local communities can proved to most advantageous for the achievement of this goal. So local input is essential part of these efforts.
  5. Current study area of Nigerian port completely lacks any advanced infrastructure for providing information and accessible interaction details. Therefore, there is need to establish efficient and advanced coordination systems to regulate key features and factors properly for the development, keeping sustainability of environment as prime observatory focus.
  6. Enhance cooperation and collaboration to strengthen the information exchange between enforcement agencies and regulatory institution internationally and locally.
  7. There is need to strengthen the current African -Nigerian Network to control illegal transportation of E-waste and explore best possible solutions.
  8. Most importantly Federal government should provide encouraging funding supports for these kinds of initiatives on immediate basis for proper equipment safety, training, maintainece and regulatory facilities at all Nigerian Ports for conservation of Nigerian coastal zone and its natural biodiversity.








Nowadays, Nigerian Ports representing devastating scenario of coastal and marine debris pollution that affect the whole ecosystem including local communities, which directly depends upon these coastal and marine reservoirs for their survival. Monumental increase has been observed toward complexity of this problem. Marine debris pollution persistently causing injuries and deaths massively, in vast varieties of coastal and marine life forms including birds, algae, shell fish and marine mammals. Major cause is water toxicity that make it unsuitable to support the life quality of the aquatic organisms. This contaminated sae food source than enter into the human food chain and impart various complex health risk including malnutrition, cancer and food poisoning. That cause economical loss to the various industries associated with sea food chain supply.

Anthropogenic activities contribute at large level to weaken the natural ecological balance both in term of biodiversity and structure, that create, evolutionary shift among various indigenous species. Solid waste exclusively plastics and micro-plastics present the major threat to the aquatic life. In spite of the fact that its major component of growing industrial development for any nation, but safe future only exists in term of finding solution to this deleterious pollutant. Nigerian Ports mainly Lagos and Niger Delta are examples of the challenging problem. Industrial development contributes at huge level in term of massive discharge of various kinds of pollutant into the environment. Various exploration practices for oil and gas at these portal site also become the factor that result in degradation of ecosystem and geographical structural balance along these coastal lines.  Nigerian Port systems are now at alarming situation and need immediate efforts to reduce this ongoing devastation of natural resources.

This research study emphasizes on proper management practices and finding alternative solution to minimize and eradicate this problem. Various initiatives and programmes have been evaluated in this study which are undergoing implementation phase by Nigerian Government, concerned agencies and International organizations. International organization expressed their serious concerns over the conservation and sustainable preservation of biotic and abiotic resources along the Nigeria coastal zones. In this regards various national and international programs and polices are setting up through the collaboration of UNESCO and International environmental organizations for monitoring and assessment various factor causing this irreplaceable loss to the ecosystem. Various efficient and effective waste disposal methods and important measure have been suggested to improve the quality of oceanic and coastal resources. Taking into account seriousness of this challenging issue, this study recommends that there is need to design proper programs for awareness, re-education, prevention, reduction of all possible pollutant that cause marine debris pollution at coastal area.

Environmental quality can only be improved by strict implementation and practicing standard protocol for proper management and disposal of waste at individual, industrial and institutional level. These practices should be further evaluated on periodic basis through monitoring protocol to make sure all parameters are in proper accordance and support the survival of the ecosystem.  Therefore, quality improvement and conservation of biodiversity demands immediate and concerted initiatives at affected Nigerian coastal areas for re-establishing safe and protective coastal and marine environment which ultimately improve the quality of human life.













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