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Policy needed to curb Marine plastic pollution

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Women volunteers drawn from the Association of Women Managers in the Maritime Sector in Eastern and Southern Africa (Womesa), Kenya Coast Guard Service (KCGS) and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) joined hands to rid coastal beaches of plastic pollution.

The exercise is part of Womesa Kenya-GloLitter Partnerships (GLP), a project funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) and led by the International Maritime Organisation in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organisation, and Ocean Conservancy.

Speaking during the cleanup exercise at Copa Cabana beach in Mtwapa Township of Kilifi County, Womesa Secretary Winnie Maina said their aim is to prevent pollution through sensitisation of locals on conservation through beach clean-ups.

Ms. Maina, said the plastic menace has continued to be rampant on beaches all over the world and Kenyan beaches are not an exception.

She said there was an urgent need to explore new and existing legally binding agreements to address marine plastic pollution.

According to the United Nations, at least 800 species worldwide are affected by marine debris, and as much as 80 per cent of that litter is plastic.
Lynette Kiteresi Mbai from the Kenya Marine Fisheries Research Institute (Kemfri) said since most plastic debris found in the ocean originates from land, it is important to curb illegal dumping on land.

Salim Makomba, Mombasa Marine Park Deputy Warden says they have launched a campaign awareness to the communities living along the coastal line and visitors frequenting the beaches on the importance of disposing of plastic waste appropriately.

He said they have community scouts who collect plastics along the beaches and they have created designated plastic disposal bins on the beaches.

Salim said plastic papers are killing sea turtles who feed because they look like jellyfish, algae, or other species that make up a large component of the sea turtles’ diets.