- The organisation noted that the situation is compounded by the lack of a proper waste management system and policies.
- Lamu governor Issa Timamy plans to set aside specific days of the month for a general clean-up of the beaches and shores in the county.
Environmentalists and conservationists in Lamu County are calling for the formulation of laws and policies guarding against dumping of plastic waste on the beaches and in the Indian Ocean.
Under the umbrella body Mokowe Mainland Community-Based Organization, they raised alarm over the increased dumping of such waste on beaches, shores and inside the Indian Ocean.
They said such situations pose a serious hazard to the marine ecosystem in the region.
The once pristine beaches of Mkokoni, Kiunga, Ishakani, Kiwayu, Kizingitini, Faza, Matondoni, Kipungani, Kitangani, Mokowe Old Jetty, Wiyoni, and surrounding areas within the Lamu Archipelago, who have previously been known for their beauty, are now stashed with waste.
Apart from plastic bottles, other common waste includes plastic straws, old fishing nets, and abandoned damaged boats.
The organisation chairperson Abdirashid Aden noted that the situation is compounded by the lack of a proper waste management system and policies.
“We need laws that will penalize all those found dumping waste in the ocean or on the beach. A few prosecutions and heavy fines will be enough warning for people to start acting right and dumping in the right place,” Aden said.
He urged the county government to establish clear waste management policies to enable a wholesome solution to the issue.
“We can’t ask people to dispose of off waste properly if there is nowhere to dispose in the first place. Let there be enough infrastructure towards these accompanied with clear policies on any contravention of the same,” he said.
The organisation also called on the county assembly of Lamu to formulate and adopt policies that work against plastic pollution in the region.
Bahati Fundi of the Conserve Lamu observed that the increased dumping of plastic in the ocean has caused a drastic reduction of fish in the ocean as most marine life has migrated further away to cleaner and safe ocean zones.
He expressed frustration over the increased deaths of marine life including endangered turtles and crabs owing to the situation.
“The plastic pileup in the ocean is causing more harm than we can ever rectify. Marine animals are dying while others are moving away. We have other extinct species like turtles whose population is already threatened. This has got to stop,” Fundi said.
He stated that clean beaches provide a conducive breeding ground for turtles, fish, crabs, and other animals while the opposite is disastrous.
For the people of Lamu, the Indian Ocean if their largest resource as it is both a source of food and livelihood.
“Over 80 percent of the population here depends on the ocean in one way or the other. We must therefore pool together and do something about this situation,” said Fatma Mohamed of Conserve Lamu.
Lamu governor Issa Timamy plans to set aside specific days of the month for a general clean-up of the beaches and shores in the county.