Members of Ibeshe coastal community have decried the adverse impact of plastic waste on fishing activities in the community. The fishermen said that plastic waste and other wastages swept ashore by sea waves are posing a threat to fishery resources of the community. The community members said that they have appealed to the Lagos State government to help it combat the rising menace of plastic waste.
By Ruth Akinwunmi-King
The adverse impact of plastic waste in Ibeshe resonates with recent projections of the threat of plastic waste pose to ocean life. For instance, a study conducted by the World Economic Forum, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and McKinsey and Company, noted that 32% of the 78 million tons of plastic packaging produced annually is left to flow into oceans. This, the group estimates, is equivalent of pouring one garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute.
A Sipanews correspondent, who went round the community on a boat, noted that the Lagos State government could generate revenue from fisheries activities in the area if it ramps up the dilapidated infrastructure in the community. Ibeshe is a rural fishing town in Ikorodu Local government area of Lagos State. The town comprises eleven communities lacking basic social amenities including Ibeshe, Ibeshe-Beach, Ibasa, Imore, Ilashe, Okun -Ilashe, Igbo-osun, Igbo-Eseyere and Okun-Ilashe .
The Olubeshe of Ibeshe, Oba Richard Ogunsanya explained that several calls had been made to the state government and letters written to appropriate authorities on the need to develop the decrepit infrastructure in the community but government is yet to respond. “We have written severally to concerned authorities to help improve our living standard, but this present administration is taking time to reach out to all communities, we are patient and know soon it will be our turn,” said Oba Richard Ogunsanya. “Ibeshe has a lot of potentials which government through which the Lagos State government can derive revenue if the state of infrastructure in the community is improved. This is important because Ibeshe is a notable for fishing and this could generate revenues for both government and the people if the infrastructure is fixed.”
When Sipa news correspondent visited the Ibeshe shoreline, there were many fishing canoes lying fallow with only a few fishermen roving on the waters in search of fishes. It was also noticed that the riverbank was filled with dirt such plastics and other wastages swept ashore by sea waves.
According to fishermen and women in the community, they catch between 10-20 fishes a day, depending on how hardworking and which tools are at their disposal. Lukman Kadri, one of the fishermen in Ibeshe community told Sipa news that he catches about 20 fishes a day. He explained that the price ranges are determined by the size of the fish. He, however, explained that the fishing output of Ibeshe community is low compared to its potential.
This, according to them, is due to circumstances frustrating fishing activities such as shortage of electricity supply needed for preservation, high cost of fishing materials and the constant noise from the dredging companies, which fishermen say scare away fishes.
Chairman of the Fishermen in Ibeshe, Ogundairo Lateef, also spoke about the problems fishermen face and called on the state government to intervene in Ibeshe as such moves could bring result in the generation of more revenue from fishing activities. “If the state government could find a way to empower us, it would go a long way in making our lives better; fishing is lucrative but we need to increase our output,” said Lateef. “Although, we have so many social challenges; we are satisfied with our job and the way God made us.”
On the other hand, the fishermen and women also highlighted the difficulty they face with preservation, which they noted is lacking in the area. For too long, rural fishing communities in Lagos State, southwest Nigeria have been experiencing losses in their fishing businesses because they do not have the means to preserve their fishes, hence most of their catches go bad by the turn of a new day. In this instance, fishers are compelled to sale their fishes at a loss to avoid decomposition. It is anticipated that the Lagos state government would look inwards to harness the potential of Ibeshe and many other fishing communities as sources of revenue generation and empowerment of fishers.