The Ocean is the future and so are we! Every year, on June 8 the world celebrates World Oceans Day to highlight its importance for the survival of our blue planet. STEMi Makers Africa joined the global movement with country activities that spanned from Beach Clean-up, Environmental sensitization, Ocean Conservation, Radio talk, and a Virtual Summit to inspire action, protect the ocean and offer sustainable use of our marine resources.
The event was celebrated in the Gambia, Cameroon, Liberia, Nigeria, and South Africa in partnership with UNESCO, The UN World Oceans Day, and the U.S Consulate General; Lagos, Nigeria on Monday, June 8. The event was themed: The Science We Need For The Ocean We Want.
The Virtual Summit hosted global Scientists and thought Leaders who discussed this extremely important issue at such a critical time in history. The event had Kolisa Yola Sinyanya, Ph.D., a South African Oceanographer from the University of Cape Town; South Africa, Dr. Demilade Fayemiwo, Ph.D., a Scientist, and L’Oreal – UNESCO Women in Science recipient, Russell Brooks, the Public Affairs Officer of the U.S Consulate and Amanda Obidike, the Strategy Lead for STEMi Makers Africa who moderated the Summit.
Russell Brooks spoke a great deal on plastic pollution and how we can begin to reverse these threats to our coasts, oceans, and marine life. He also shared how the U.S Government can assist countries on oil spillage threatening marine ecosystems.
Oceanographer Kolisa Yola introduced the audience to numerous opportunities, grants, and Fellowship programs that young people can explore in Ocean Sciences alongside with the impactful role of Phytoplankton. Dr. Demilade talked about Science not being enough to save the oceans. The Dr. said “we have a collective responsibility to contribute to a low waste approach and scale-up sustainable production of biodegradable versions of products like plastic and plastic bags.“
Amanda Obidike, the Strategy Lead for STEMi Makers Africa shared that STEMi Makers Africa is committed to raising global awareness of “the benefits humankind derives from the ocean and our individual and collective duty to use its resources sustainably as future generations will also depend on the ocean for their livelihood.“
For the physical celebration, clean-ups, and environmental sensitization, STEMi Makers Africa partnered with community organizations like the Gambian Ocean Heroes; Gambia, Green Stewards Incorporated; Liberia, Social Enterprise for Environmental Development (SEED), IFAMTECH, and Forest and Environmental program for Sustainable Development (FOEPSUD) of Bamenda of Cameroon. Claudette Nkwenti, one of the coordinators from Cameroon spoke about the implications of disposing plastics into creeks and oceans.
A cross section of participants in a group photo after a beach cleanup
The project which had some 350 attendees and was also live-streamed offered an opportunity to gather fresh data about the state of our coasts and what types of trash pollutes them. Countries involved in this year’s event all carried out various actions to create new patterns of behavior of individuals, groups, and society as a whole towards the proper upkeep of the West African environment, its oceans, and marine life.