KENYA – The World-Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-Kenya) has 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.

Alex Kubasu, WWF program coordinator on the circular economy initiative said: “We have trained over 700 people in waste management and even donated waste recycling equipment to three community-based organizations within the region to deal with the problem.

“So far we have collected more than 2,500 tonnes of plastics, which have been recycled, at the same time earning a decent living to the people within the region.”

Plastic pollution is one of the major environmental challenges facing the global community today. According to a 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,” said Gerald Lepariyo, a climate change and nature enthusiast.

“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.”

The rise in the Kenyan coast comes at a time when the Government is struggling to enforce the ban on single-use plastic in the country.

Volunteer litter groups on the Indian Ocean coastline are assuming the burden of tackling marine plastic pollution, which is endangering their livelihoods.

These groups regularly gather to clean up, but their efforts are frustrated by a lack of goodwill from the public and support from the government.

“We can collect plastics this Saturday, when we go back next weekend we find different kinds of litter, like flip-flops,” says Esther Renchi from Likoni Women Hope and Eco.

“I think society hasn’t understood the importance of keeping the environment clean.”

According to the 2021-30 National Marine Litter Management Action Plan prepared by the Environment Ministry and Nema, Kenya’s coastal and marine ecosystems are valued at more than US$4.4 billion annually.

“The coastal and marine ecosystems continue to face huge pressure from natural and human activities, such as climate change, resource overexploitation, habitat destruction and pollution,” the plan reads.

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