Nema alarmed by plastic pollution in the Indian Ocean

Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort staff collect plastic trash along the Indian Ocean beach on September 16, 2017. Kenya has joined 40 other countries across the world in the fight against ocean and sea pollution. FILE PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The National Environmental Management Authority (Nema) has raised concern over increased dumping of waste in the Indian Ocean and areas near beaches.

Speaking in Diani while marking the International Coastal Clean-up Day, Nema board chairperson Eric Mungai said ocean pollution is a global threat to fisheries and marine life.

The official stated that sea debris and marine pollutants directly endangers the marine ecosystem.

“We are alarmed by the amount of litter that is both in the ocean and on land. We are proposing to have a day every month for cleaning our beaches and areas surrounding them so that we are proud of a clean country,” Mr Mungai.

By doing so, Mr Mungai said, Kenya will be emulating countries like Rwanda which conducts monthly clean-ups and gets recognized globally as a clean country.

The initiative will involve the public, including schoolchildren, in frequent beach cleanup campaigns.

During the Diani beach clean-up, close to a tonne of garbage was collected. A similar exercise was carried out in Ukunda town.

According to Kenya Maine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI) Director General James Njiru, the institute's findings show that 37,000 metric tonnes of plastic get into the Indian ocean annually.

This has caused death of marine animals such as fish and turtles as result of suffocation from plastics.

“ This is even worrying because 80 per cent of that plastic usually comes from inland areas. It requires a behaviour change for Kenyans to prevent this because it is a big threat to our natural resources,” Mr Njiru said.

The official lauded youth who he said are taking up innovative challenges to reduce plastic pollution, urging the government to develop awards for the cleanest cities in the country.



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