In Watamu non-biodegradable waste is polluting our beaches and threatening vulnerable marine life. Plastic bags are littering the area and the overall environment is deteriorating resulting in threats to human health.
Watamu Marine Association (WMA) members decided that action was in order and designed a Community Solid Waste Management Project. The Project has been awarded funding from the World Conservation Union (IUCN Netherlands) as part of their Ecosystems Grants Programme. The funds have been used to purchase equipment and to employ part time over 40 local youths, women and unemployed people from WMA community groups’ members to operate as waste collectors.
To be eligible for funding WMA were required to work with a long established partner organisation. The Project is partnered with Turtle Bay Beach Club who as a hotel support several environmental and community projects in the Watamu area.
The Project will significantly reduce the pollution threats to beaches, marine life and the general community. In addition to the clear environmental benefits, the project will also raise community education and awareness levels on the problems associated with non-biodegradable waste that will result in a cleaner and healthier village. Good waste management will reduce the threat of disease and sickness to both humans and domestic animals such as goats and cows that often eat plastic waste. A further benefit of a clean and plastic free village is that it will be more attractive to tourists therefore promoting and boosting local traders.
The Project has the backing and support of the community and tourism sectors and is designed to be self sustaining in the long term through sponsorship from local businesses and WMA member organisations.
The Project will also aim to generate income from the sale of recyclables. Various plastics, flip flops, glass and tin cans are all recyclable or reusable waste products. Our local community groups will make art and crafts from these materials creating an income for poor and disadvantaged members. This is a unique initiative at the coast and is intended to raise public awareness to the problems related to waste and pollution and to demonstrate the potential of community initiatives.
See us on YouTube - To view the members in action singing, "Keep Watamu Clean!" click on YouTube-Watamu Marine Association
Taka Taka Facts (taka taka is the Swahili word for rubbish)
Fact: Did you know that various plastics can take 20 – 1,000 years to degrade.
Fact: Did you know that sea turtles mistake plastic bags for jellyfish, eat them and die
Fact: Did you know that plastics and other waste washed up on Watamu beaches arrives here on ocean currents from as far away as Madagascar.
Recycling Collaborators in Kenya
WMA also work with UniqEco Designs in Nairobi which takes discarded flip-flops and other marine flotsam and recycles these into products ranging from accessories and jewellery to one-off sculptures.
In the future we hope to be working with Kitengela Glass. For more information on this inspiring project of international repute please see Eco Tower Watamu - Nani Croze .
For other similar projects on the coast please see Lamu Safi Group.
WMA CEO-Steve Trott
tel +254 (0)721 275818