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Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute took part in this year’s International Coastal Cleanup, an event that was driven by the organisation’s Marine Debris Volunteer Programme (KMDVP). Members of the group, mostly drawn from local universities, conduct beach cleanup every Thursday, in an initiative meant to conserve aquatic life by creating a conducive environment for fish to thrive.

About 30 volunteers from the institute participated in the Saturday exercise, an annual global event marked on September 16. The team, which was coordinated by Mombasa Centre Director Dr James Mwaluma and led by Senior Public Relations Officer, collected waste at Mkomani beach before proceeding to Jomo Kenyatta Beach, better known as Pirates, for the official function overseen by the Kenya Wildlife Services and the National Environment Management Authority. Speakers at the function underscored the importance of protecting our oceans, emphasizing that it is not only good for the marine life but also for generations to come. Plastics entangle marine animals with lethal consequences, while others choke and die after feeding on trash. The public was urged to use such events to sensitise the public on environmental regulatory requirements and need for compliance. The government banned the use of plastics, a law which took effect on August 31, 2017.

Plastics account for the highest percentage of trash collected on the shores. Most of the items that had been washed to the shores included glass beverage bottles, disposable lunch boxes, icecream containers, slippers, polythene shopping bags, plastic bottle tops, among others.
Elsewhere, volunteers drawn from various institutions cleaned Msambweni, Mkwriro, Wasini, Watamu and Shimoni areas. Trash weighing 6000kg was collected at the Coast.

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