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Scientific Data Champions Protection of Nigeria’s Marine Ecosystems and Human Health

Lagos lagoon is the largest of four lagoon systems off the Gulf of Guinea. Several rivers and waterways empty into it, and it plays an important role in the West African coastal ecosystem as well as the Nigerian economy. Several aquatic organisms in the lagoon are commercially important species, providing food and income for surrounding communities and beyond. The fish caught here represent more than half of Nigeria’s fisheries production of nearly 800,000 metric tonnes. This unique brackish water environment also plays significant roles in ecosystem stability and as a breeding ground for aquatic species. Unfortunately, the lagoon receives enormous amounts of largely untreated industrial and other wastes. Lagos State accounts for most of the country’s industries and is home to an estimated 20 million people. Researchers recommend that regulatory agencies develop and adopt a Nigerian version of REACh (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals), the European Union Regulation 1907/2006/EC regarding chemicals. They should also do more to enforce the legal protection of natural habitats.