Maritime Pollution Prevention: A Comparative Study of Port Waste Management Practices in Nigeria and a Developed Nation

Introduction

Maritime pollution is a serious threat to the marine environment and human health. It can affect the quality of water, air, soil, and biodiversity, as well as the economic and social activities that depend on them. According to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), maritime pollution is “the introduction by man, directly or indirectly, of substances or energy into the marine environment (including estuaries) resulting in such deleterious effects as harm to living resources, hazards to human health, hindrance to marine activities including fishing, impairment of quality for use of sea water and reduction of amenities” [1].

One of the major sources of maritime pollution is ship-generated waste, which includes solid waste, oily waste, sewage, ballast water, and exhaust emissions. Ship-generated waste can be discharged into the sea intentionally or accidentally, or it can be collected and disposed of at ports. The management of ship-generated waste at ports is crucial for preventing and reducing maritime pollution, as well as for ensuring the safety and health of port workers and communities. However, the provision and use of adequate waste reception facilities at ports is often challenging, especially in developing countries.

Nigeria is a coastal country with a large maritime sector that contributes significantly to its economy and development. Nigeria has six major seaports: Apapa, Tin Can Island, Calabar, Port Harcourt, Onne, and Warri. These ports handle various types of cargo, such as containers, bulk, liquid, general, and ro-ro. According to the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the total cargo throughput of Nigerian ports in 2022 was 86.6 million metric tons, of which 77.4% was import and 22.6% was export [2]. The number of vessels that called at Nigerian ports in 2022 was 4,622, with a total gross tonnage of 144.2 million [2]. These figures indicate the high volume of ship traffic and activity at Nigerian ports, which also implies the high generation of ship waste.

The management and control of ship-generated waste at Nigerian ports is regulated by various national and international laws and agencies. The main national laws are the Federal Environmental Protection Agency Act (FEPA) of 1988, the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency Act (NESREA) of 2007, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency Act (NIMASA) of 2007, and the Merchant Shipping Act (MSA) of 2007. The main international conventions are the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) 1973/78, the International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation (OPRC) 1990, the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage (CLC) 1969/92, and the International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships (AFS) 2001. These laws and conventions aim to prevent and reduce maritime pollution from ships by setting standards for ship design, operation, maintenance, inspection, certification, reporting, contingency planning, liability, compensation, and enforcement.

However, despite the existence of these legal frameworks, the management and control of ship-generated waste at Nigerian ports is still inadequate and ineffective. This is due to various factors such as lack of administrative coordination among regulatory agencies; lack of adequate waste reception facilities; lack of awareness and compliance among ship operators; lack of monitoring and enforcement; lack of incentives and penalties; lack of data and information; lack of funding and resources; lack of technical capacity; lack of stakeholder participation; and lack of public awareness and education [3] [4] [5]. These factors result in poor environmental performance and compliance at Nigerian ports.

Therefore, there is a need for a comparative study of port waste management practices in Nigeria and a developed nation that has achieved good environmental performance and compliance. Such a study can identify the best practices that can be adopted or adapted by Nigeria to improve its port waste management system. The objective of this research paper is to compare the port waste management practices in Nigeria and the Netherlands as a case study of a developed nation. The Netherlands was chosen because it is one of the leading maritime nations in Europe and the world; it has a well-developed port infrastructure; it has implemented various innovative measures to prevent and reduce maritime pollution from ships; it has achieved high environmental performance
and compliance at its ports; it has a similar legal framework as Nigeria based on MARPOL convention; it has a long history of cooperation with Nigeria in maritime matters; and it has relevant data and information available for analysis.

The research paper is organized as follows: Section 2 provides an overview of port waste management practices in Nigeria; Section 3 provides an overview of port waste management practices in the Netherlands; Section 4 compares and contrasts the port waste management practices in Nigeria and the Netherlands; Section 5 discusses the findings and implications of the comparison; Section 6 provides recommendations for improving port waste management practices in Nigeria; and Section 7 concludes the paper.

Port Waste Management Practices in Nigeria

Port waste management practices in Nigeria can be described in terms of the following aspects: legal framework, institutional framework, waste reception facilities, waste collection and disposal, waste minimization and prevention, waste monitoring and reporting, waste enforcement and compliance, and waste awareness and education.

Legal Framework

The legal framework for port waste management in Nigeria consists of national laws and international conventions that regulate the generation, discharge, collection, disposal, and prevention of ship-generated waste at ports. The main national laws are:

– The Federal Environmental Protection Agency Act (FEPA) of 1988, which established the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA) as the principal agency for environmental protection and regulation in Nigeria. The FEPA Act also empowered FEPA to make regulations on environmental standards, guidelines, procedures, and criteria for various sectors and activities, including maritime pollution. Under the FEPA Act, FEPA issued the National Environmental (Sea Dumping) Regulations of 1990, which prohibited the dumping of any substance or material into the sea from any vessel or aircraft without a permit from FEPA. The FEPA Act also required FEPA to cooperate with other relevant agencies and bodies in the implementation of international conventions on environmental protection.

– The National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency Act (NESREA) of 2007, which repealed the FEPA Act and established the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) as the successor agency to FEPA. The NESREA Act also empowered NESREA to make regulations on environmental standards, guidelines, procedures, and criteria for various sectors and activities, including maritime pollution. Under the NESREA Act, NESREA issued the National Environmental (Vessels and Ships) Regulations of 2012, which provided for the prevention, reduction, and control of pollution from vessels and ships at Nigerian ports. The NESREA Act also required NESREA to cooperate with other relevant agencies and bodies in the implementation of international conventions on environmental protection.

– The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency Act (NIMASA) of 2007, which established the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) as the apex regulatory agency for maritime affairs in Nigeria. The NIMASA Act also empowered NIMASA to make regulations on maritime safety, security, pollution prevention, and control. Under the NIMASA Act, NIMASA issued the Merchant Shipping (Prevention of Pollution by Sewage) Regulations of 2012, which provided for the prevention of pollution by sewage from ships at Nigerian ports. The NIMASA Act also required NIMASA to implement and enforce international conventions on maritime safety, security, pollution prevention, and control.

– The Merchant Shipping Act (MSA) of 2007, which repealed the Merchant Shipping Act of 1962 and provided for a comprehensive legal framework for merchant shipping in Nigeria. The MSA also incorporated various international conventions on maritime safety, security, pollution prevention,
and control into Nigerian law. These conventions include: MARPOL 1973/78; OPRC 1990; CLC 1969/92; AFS 2001; International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage (BUNKER) 2001; International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments (BWM) 2004; International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea (HNS) 1996/2010; International Convention on Salvage (SALVAGE) 1989; International Convention Relating to Intervention on the High Seas in Cases of Oil Pollution Casualties (INTERVENTION) 1969/73; Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL) 1965/76; Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness Response Cooperation Regional Agreement for West Central Africa (OPRC-HNS Protocol WACAF Agreement) 2001/06.

The main international conventions that regulate port waste management in Nigeria are:

– MARPOL 1973/78: This is the main international convention for preventing pollution from ships. It consists of six annexes that cover different types of ship-generated waste: Annex I (oil), Annex II (noxious liquid substances), Annex III (harmful substances in packaged form), Annex IV (sewage), Annex V (garbage), and Annex VI (air pollution). Each annex contains provisions on discharge standards, equipment requirements, operational procedures, reception facilities, certification, inspection, reporting, contingency planning, liability, compensation, enforcement. Nigeria ratified MARPOL 1973/78 in 1986 and acceded to all its annexes except Annex VI.

– OPRC 1990: This is an international

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