COVID-19 MITIGATION

Malindi beach operators turn to recycling for survival

Disruptions to the tourism sector pushed most of the women out of business in March

In Summary

• The women have been collecting plastics and other waste products from the beach since March to make the products. 

• On Tuesday, they organised an exhibition of their products at the Blue Key beach under the umbrella of Malindi Baharini Women Group.

A group of beach operators in Malindi are using recycled materials to make table mats, bungles, handbags, hats, dolls and other items for sale. 

The women have been collecting plastics and other waste products from the beach since March to make the products. 

On Tuesday, they organised an exhibition of their products at the Blue Key beach under the umbrella of Malindi Baharini Women Group.

Pili Kadzo, chair of the group, said they sought alternative livelihoods after the collapse of the tourism sector due to the coronavirus pandemic.

She said the idea was brought to them by Malindi Progressive Welfare Association chair Kate Mwikali who also assisted them with vouchers to get food.

Mwikali told them to begin using their skills to produce items from the waste materials that can be sold to the global market.

Kadzo said they need support from the government and well-wishers to boost their business and market their products online.

“When corona hit the country, we were really shocked because our jobs were cut off abruptly without us even understanding what coronavirus was, we thought it would last for a short time but unfortunately, it did not,” she said.

Benedicta Ogutu, a member, said they are able to make different products from the trash which can be sold at good prices.

She said they could not sit idle and wait for Covid-19 to end that's why they began the innovative ideas of producing items from recycled products.

“We appeal for any sponsors to support us with materials and even expertise so that using our hands we can make more products,” she said.

Jane Gitau, Malindi Marine National Park senior warden said the women had cleaned the beaches and also made beautiful products for sale. 

Gitau said the women's activity was one way of embracing the ban of plastics which are a threat to marine life.

 

(edited by o. owino)