Call for Action: Setting Up Garbage Bins to Tackle Plastic Pollution on Kenyan Beaches

NYALI: Kenyan beach conservation groups are urging county governments with coastlines to install garbage bins along beaches to combat the rising threat of plastic pollution. This initiative aims to safeguard the beaches from plastic waste, especially as the festive season approaches. The Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI) has raised alarms over the global issue of plastic debris, now the most common form of litter in oceans and freshwater systems.

According to Kenya News Agency, “Mtafiti,” the prevalence of microplastics in the environment is alarming, with their traces found in commercial fish species and even human lung tissue. Hezekiel Gikambi, KMFRI Assistant Director of Strategic Communication, emphasized the seriousness of the issue, stating, “By 2050, there could be more waste in the sea than fish, which is a very dangerous situation.”

To combat this, KMFRI has collaborated with the Jigrow Coast Conservation Group and Mkoma Youth Boxing Group for a cleanup drive at Mkomani Beach in Nyali Constituency. The institute has also developed ‘Taka Connect’, an app designed to link garbage collectors with recycling factories.

Fredrick Mwenda, a member of the Jigrow Coast Conservation Group, highlighted the need for regular beach cleanups and requested the county government to install dustbins along the coast. He also emphasized the untapped potential of the ocean, with 90% remaining unexploited, and called on the State Department of Maritime and Fisheries to educate residents about available opportunities.

In a unique initiative, boxing Coach Ibrahim Reje has been training Mkomani youths in boxing as a way to steer them away from drug and substance abuse. The training includes beach cleanups, integrating environmental conservation with community welfare.

This concerted effort by various groups and the government reflects a growing awareness and action against the environmental crisis posed by plastic pollution in Kenyan coastal areas.