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ABIDJAN 21 October 2015 - Marine and coastal journalists of the Abidjan Convention area have completed a three-day workshop on marine litter, vowing to expand reporting on this and other critical marine environmental issues.

Photo: Vanessa Ahouadjiro
Abidjan Convention Secretariat.

The workshop attracted eight reporters, some members of staff and the course instructor. The three-day session consisted of presentations on marine litter in their countries by the participants; a field visit to a pollution problem at the Abidjan Fish Port; writing exercises and discussions on the global marine litter debate. This workshop was a follow-up to another organized by the Convention Secretariat in December 2013 on coastal and marine environmental issues in general.


Photo: Vanessa Ahouadjiro Abidjan Convention Secretariat.

The journalist comprised reporters and editors of newspapers and online media in the area. In their declaration at the end of the three-day gathering on 16 October they vowed that, through reporting, they would try to influence policies, strategies and practices; inform the public and communities with the goal of triggering attitudinal change about marine and coastal issues and marine litter; build deeper understanding of environmental and sustainability issues; and convey a sense of urgency regarding specific issues such as marine litter. Key among targeted audience of their reports will be decision makers, opinion leaders, the youth, schools, women, labour unions, workplace environmental health officers.


Photo: Vanessa Ahouadjiro Abidjan Convention Secretariat.

Plastics are the most common form of marine litter worldwide, which mostly comes from coastal borderstates and sea-based sources. Plastics damage fishing boats and gear, are a safety risk for people at sea, damage cooling water intakes of ships, contaminate beaches and are a public health hazard. In the ocean, plastics are eventually broken down into microplastics and consumed up the food chain to fish, and perhaps man.

In a message to the participants, Abidjan Convention Coordinator Abou Bamba said after the workshop it was the hope of UNEP and the Convention Secretariat that wastewater, marine litter, nutrients and other land-based sources of pollution dumped into the ocean and adjacent waters would be reduced significantly, if not eliminated as in other world regions.

“We will support the journalists in their job to influence decision-making processes and improve the situation in the Abidjan Convention region,” he added.