Solid waste disposal in the ocean and beaches on Lamu Island still poses a big challenge that has subsequently discouraged tourists from visiting the archipelago.
This is according to the Lamu Tourism Association (LTA), the National Museums of Kenya (NMK) and other tourism stakeholders.
Speaking in Lamu Old Town when they led a beach clean-up exercise to mark World Tourism Day on Tuesday, officials called on residents to desist from haphazard disposal of solid waste, particularly plastics.
Lamu Old Town is the main tourist hub for Lamu with hundreds of tourists visiting the historical town, one of the oldest surviving Swahili cities on the East African coast.
The town was listed by Unesco in 2001 as a World Heritage site due to its rich reservoir of unique and well-preserved culture and heritage spanning decades.
“My plea to locals is the environmental lobbies in cleaning beaches as it is also their responsibility,” said LTA deputy chairperson Fridah Njeri.
NMK Curator in charge of Lamu Museums Mohammed Mwenje said irresponsible waste disposal still poses a threat to the existence of Lamu as a heritage site.
Mr Mwenje called for cooperation from the public to keep Lamu clean.
“Such exercises should also be done frequently. Residents and stakeholders here can decide to do it weekly or monthly so as to maintain a clean and beautiful site free from plastic waste and other garbage,” said Mr Mwenje.
Abdallah Ziwa, the chairman of the Lamu Tour Guide Operators Association pleaded with the devolved government to formulate regulations that will deal ruthlessly with any form of environmental degradation.