Sustainable Development Goal 14, Life Below Water:  Individual Call to Action to Prevent Aquatic Pollution

Sustainable Development Goal 14, Life Below Water:  Individual Call to Action to Prevent Aquatic Pollution

As I gazed through my window on a Saturday morning to have a perfect view of my surrounding, I saw diverse people going on with their normal activities. Of course, you can say it is normal, but then a view got my attention. “The action of a market woman sweeping her surroundings into the nearby drainage popularly called gutter”. Suddenly, I thought, she would not do this if she knows the consequence of her actions to the aquatic lives and then human health.

Figure 1: A clogged drainage system with different waste materials

Aquatic pollution which involves the release of toxic materials into the water bodies, does not only involve the commercial aspects like industrial waste, mining effects, agricultural waste but also, the little effort of individuals which piles up over a period of time has a drastic effect on our aquatic biodiversity. Individual actions such as improper waste disposal on the streets and gutters, which during heavy rainfall, cause a flood, which eventually carries wastes of different materials into streams, rivers, and ocean. Also, some are even known to dispose of these wastes into the river as they believe it will be carried away (River dumping).

Figure 2: This shows the activity of river dumping in a fishing community in Lagos

These wastes include diverse kinds of materials such as plastic, cans, biodegradable substance, and much more. These wastes are known to: decrease the amount of oxygen in water bodies which kills aquatic lives at extreme cases; make aquatic life unsuitable for consumption from the effects of the various wastes they have come in contact with E.g. domestic sewage; destroys the habitat of aquatic lives through the presence of plastic and cans materials. All these results in a decline in aquatic biodiversity.

Preventing and stopping aquatic pollution starts with us, and not just the commercial sectors. This is a call for action, individuals should see their environment as a system and major component, which if not properly managed, results in different casualties that can affect human lives. We can all prevent and stop aquatic pollution by ensuring proper waste disposal, regular cleaning of gutters, no disposal of waste into water bodies, and majorly, sensitization of individuals who are not aware of the effects of aquatic pollution. These actions go a long way to save our aquatic lives and human health. Together we can bring this change.

Figure 3: This illustrates an action to prevent aquatic pollution by clearing of drainage systems.