What you need to know:
- The World-Wide Fund for nature (WWF-Kenya) joined forces with Kenya PAKPRO recycling company with the initiative to reduce plastic pollution in the Indian Ocean.
- Through the waste value project, Mombasa and Kilifi counties have received plastic receptacles, placed strategically along the beaches for the collection of plastics.
Forty-two per cent of Kenya’s land mass lies in the ocean, but this marine habitat is constantly under threat due to plastic pollution. But over the last few years, progress has been made towards solving this problem, thereby saving a number of marine species.
In 2020, Danida Market Development Partnerships launched a waste to value project targeted towards improving Kenya's plastic recycling value chain while creating jobs for the local communities at the coast.
The World-Wide Fund for nature (WWF-Kenya) joined forces with Kenya PAKPRO recycling company with the initiative to reduce plastic pollution in the Indian Ocean.
Through the waste value project, Mombasa and Kilifi counties have received plastic receptacles, placed strategically along the beaches for the collection of plastics.
“We have trained over 700 people in waste management and even donated waste recycling equipment to three community-based organisations within the region in an effort to deal with the problem,” Said Alex Kubasu, WWF programme coordinator on the circular economy initiative.
“So far we have collected more than 2,500 tons of plastics, which have been recycled, at the same time earning a decent living to the people within the region,” he added.
Ali Ahmed, a trader in Nyali public beach, says they have been forced to lead by example, collecting all the waste materials from the beach including plastics. Ahmed,22, narrates that there used to be plenty of plastics littering the coastline, but they are now coming up with proposals to deal with the matter.
“We are now at a point where we are engaging as traders to push for the use of reusable water bottles. We hope that revellers coming to the beach will agree with us because if we don’t do this then we all risk being banned from operating at the beach,” he says.
Another trader says he has witnessed three turtles die in a span of two years.
“One of the dead turtles drifted ashore and we had to call officers from the Kenya Wildlife Service. Upon examining the reptile, they discovered a synthetic plastic material stuck in its mouth. I think what we need is proper sensitisation of members of the public to stop dumping plastics,” Said Babu Mkajire.
Plastic pollution is one of the major environmental challenges facing global community today. According to report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), human activities such as deforestation and plastic pollution are key drivers of climate change. This has had devastating consequences for wildlife, ecosystems, human health and the entire biodiversity.
“The potential measures to address plastic pollution require effective investments in a circular economy. This is critical for protecting and restoring our ecosystems and diversity. This will anchor great benefits to agriculture, marine systems, greening our cities, and more importantly will accelerate rural communities development,” said Gerald Lepariyo, a climate change and nature enthusiast.
Kenya is an executive member of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC/UNESCO). According to the director of the Kenya Marine Fisheries & Research Institute (KMFRI) James Njiru, the IOC is a UN body specialised in ocean science and services.
“2021-2023 has been declared by the UN as the ‘Decade of the Ocean Science’. This is very critical because it creates awareness on the dangers which are imminent in the ocean. The idea of the Ocean Decade was to bring many stakeholders together to create awareness on the importance of the ocean. Seventy per cent of the oxygen we are breathing is from the ocean, our food comes from the ocean and so it means our lives are generally intertwined with the ocean. If you destroy the ocean, you are destroying ourselves and our future,” said Prof Njiru.
KMFRI estimates that the country has the potential of catching up to 300,000 metric tonnes of fish, hence the need to conserve and use the oceans sustainably.