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Coast clean-up nets 14 tonnes of plastic waste

A clean-up exercise along the Kenyan coastal strip last weekend has painted a grim picture of the environmental pollution on the favoured holiday destination. The three-hour exercise saw volunteers and conservation groups collect up to 14 tonnes of plastic and other non-biodegradable waste, highlighting the burden of plastic on the environment.

The Kenya clean-up exercise, as part of the global initiative, was organised by flip-flop recycling company Ocean Sole, through its foundation, the Watamu Marine Association and Kenya Wildlife Service.

It took place along the whole Kenyan coast including Kiunga, Lamu, Malindi, Watamu, Kilifi, Takaungu, Vipingo, Kuruwitu, Mombasa, Diani, Wasini, Mkwiro and Msambweni beach towns. Participants included schools, community and environmental groups, hotels and corporates and government offices.

“One of the biggest threats facing the world’s oceans today is pollution from plastic waste. As nations, communities and individuals, we all need to join hands and work together to reduce this threat,” said marine conservationist Steve Trott, speaking for Watamu Marine Association.

According to Ocean Conservancy based in the USA, the groups were making efforts to reduce the amount of plastic waste dumped into the ocean. Data from the organisation reveals that eight billion tonnes of plastic are dumped in the oceans every year.

Marine conservationist and Ocean Sole founder Julie Church said by 2050, there will be more waste in the oceans than fish globally. “This international beach clean-up, therefore, is a giant step in addressing the growing problem of plastic waste,” she said. “It is a major health hazard.

The plastic waste, which is broken down into small pieces, is mistaken for food by birds, fish, sea turtles, dolphins, whales and many other animals. This results in ill health and the death of millions of marine animals and birds each year,” added Church.

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