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  • Kwale Plastics

Growing the Plastic Revolution across the South Coast of Kenya

Despite the challenges facing the global International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) activities this year, Team Kenya - South Coast has been undeterred and are concluding months of extended beach and coastal cleaning this weekend.

The team, chaired by our very own Susan Scull-Carvalho and backed by Kwale Plastics Plus have been conducting cleanups since mid-September culminating in a final beach clean on Saturday 5th December and a celebration event.

At the event, in the Msambweni Turtle compound, final waste debris collection data will be reported and the Award Winners will be announced.

Back in 2018, this south coast team instigated the formation of Team Kenya - ICC. This enabled the waste collection data from all Team Kenya ICC partners—spanning from Lamu to Vanga— to be compiled into one report for submission to the international headquarters of Ocean Conservancy.

Each year over 130 countries take part in the cleanups. In 2018 Kenya ranked in the top 20. In 2019, we earned 4th place globally. In 2020, we’re aiming for 2nd place. The results are expected in March 2021 - watch this space…

Due to the restrictions in place during this COVID-19 crisis, the team has been encouraging many small scale cleanups rather than large activities with many people.

To accomplish this Team Kenya - South Coast split the coastal area spanning from Kombani village to the Tanzanian border into four zones, with a Captain designated in each to coordinate activities. Since September over 140 beach and coastal area cleanup activities have been organised. The areas include riverines, mangroves, islands, coastlines and in populous coastal areas.

In Diani alone, over 46 cleanup activities were conducted.

Over the last 3 months, approximately 3,000 people have volunteered their time to clean up their communities and collectively pick up over 45 tonnes of trash. That means we’ve already smashed our 2019 target by a huge 20 tonnes!

The team have had support from sports clubs, hotels, tourist associations/companies, religious groups, women’s groups, community groups, businesses, research institutions and individuals. The county has also assisted with support from government ministries and departments including Environment, Public Health, Fisheries, Forestry and the Scouts & Guides. Special recognition is also due to Kenya Wildlife Service, Base Titanium, Kenya Fisheries Research Institute and numerous Beach Management Units.

Without this support, these cleanups would not have been possible.

By far the most common items collected have been plastic bottles, cups, plastic bags and other smaller pieces of plastic. This further illustrates the point that we must be doing all we can to limit the use of single-use plastics.

The next step for the team is to further sort and clean the collected waste in preparation for shredding and recycling.

From the Flipflopi team to all of the 1000s of volunteers on the South Coast we want to say, “asanteni sana.” With your hard work and dedication, thousands of kilos of plastic waste has been saved from our environment.

We hope that each of you has been inspired to create a cleaner community now and in the future.

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