Waste collectors receive support to end plastic pollution in Coast

Garbage collection in Mombasa. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Attempts to end the perennial garbage problem in the coast region has received a major boost after the launch of a Sh6 million initiative.

Under the partnership between PETCO Kenya, a plastic recycling plant and the World Wide Fund (WWF), waste collectors will undergo training and be equipped to improve environmental protection through enhanced waste collection in the region.

Through the partnership, 800 recyclers within communities in Kwale, Kilifi, Mombasa and Lamu counties will get the required training and waste collection gear.

They will also be equipped with entrepreneurial skills to upscale their waste collection ventures into profitability.

Speaking during the signing of the memoranda in Mombasa, PETCO Kenya Country Manager Joyce Gachugi said the project seeks to empower local waste collectors and aggregators in plastic waste management.

“Our focus is to get rid of plastic waste in the Coast region, create a safe working space and support the efforts by WWF in cleaning up the city, beaches and rivers. This initiative is vital as it seeks to empower local collectors,” she said.

Kenya has long struggled with plastic waste, which dots its Indian Ocean coast and often flows into its lakes and rivers.

The waste-to-value programme is tapping into the plastic recycling market in Kenya as an innovative engagement with three other private sector recycling agents including Plastix, Jill Plastics and Kwale Plastic Plus Collectors (KPPC).

These groups’ partnership aims to revolutionise waste collection in a region plagued with plastic waste challenges, especially on the shores of the Indian Ocean.

Local organisations

This will also ensure that local organisations get value for their work and generate economic growth within the coast region.

This comes as some waste collectors in Mombasa last week were handed protective equipment for their work, a move that aimed at dignifying and enhancing waste collection and creating a safe working environment in the sector.

The partnership also strives to contribute to the sustainable development goals, by improving livelihoods for women and , men and especially youth by formalizing, improving skills around the business venture on collecting, sorting, processing plastic waste in Kwale, Mombasa, Kilifi and Lamu counties along the coast.

WWF Head of Conservation programmes Nancy Githaiga said the move is set to ensure that these local organisations get economic value for their work.

“As a measure to promote circular plastic economy, the partnership between us and the local communities will work towards establishing an international plastic recycling value chain, built on sustainable practices by connecting collectors, sorters and processors to high-end innovative plastic recycling expertise and technology,” she noted.

Other major companies that have been dealing with environment and waste management like Mr Green Africa, Jill Industries, Kwale Plastics, WWF Denmark, NEMA and Mombasa County Government are also involved in the project.

Mombasa county has recently closed illegal dumpsites and launched a monthly clean up drive.

The county has also issued badges to waste collectors to ensure that they are certified and will be dropping off the waste from residential estates in designated areas.

It has also imposed a fine of Sh500,000 for illegal dumping of waste.

Kenya has been at the forefront of fighting plastic pollution.

In June last year, the single-use plastic ban in public parks and beaches came into effect.

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