As the world celebrates World Oceans Day 2023 {June 8} with the theme “Planet Ocean: Tides are Changing”, the Centre for Environment, Human Rights, and Development (CEHRD) joins the world in condemning the damage done to the ocean through human activities and soliciting that human should imbibe ocean-friendly habits.

We are seriously concerned over the crisis facing our oceans, ranging from plastic pollution to overfishing, oil spillages and rising sea temperatures threatening marine life and coastal communities. We are worried that as oil multinationals move their activities to offshore in the name of divestment, they are wont to cause more havoc to the ocean.

In recent times, the world has been hit by extreme levels of tidal impacts, most notably, flooding. Nigeria, having its own share of impact, experienced its worst flooding in 2022 when many communities in several states were submerged. This changing tide, which is a result of the earth being heated up due to anthropogenic activities, has been a major contributor to these extremes.

It is noteworthy to state that there are a variety of human activities that contribute to this changing tide, including deforestation, agricultural activities, the burning of fossil fuels, oil extractive activities, and gas flaring among others, all of which result in the release of greenhouse gases that contribute to the depletion of the ozone layers and the heating up of the earth. “There is no doubt that not only the oceans are under threat, but also humanity”, said Styvn Obodoekwe, a human and environmental rights crusader and Programme Director at CEHRD. He noted that serious actions should be taken to save the earth and to protect the ocean and its ecosystems.

In commemoration of the 2023 World Oceans Day, which is a component of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 13 and 14, CEHRD makes a clarion call for government at all levels, civil society organizations, and indeed all well-meaning members of the public to be part of the solution to curb rising sea levels. “There is need to step up investments in sustainable solutions and conservation efforts to ensure a healthy ocean for generations to come,’’ said CEHRD’s Acting Coordinator, Dr. Francis Nabie Nubari.

We therefore call for:

1. An end to gas flaring.

2. Planting of trees.

3. Proper disposal of plastic waste.

4. Public awareness of the danger posed by human activities to the ocean.

5. Improvement and implementation of policies on sustainable plastic waste co-management.

Let us take this year’s World Ocean Day as an opportunity to reflect on our relationship with the ocean and make a commitment to do our part in preserving it. we owe it a duty to ourselves and future generations to protect the ocean.


Cookey Tammy Ph.D.

Head, Environment and Conservation Unit


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