EYESORE

Garbage pile-up in Malindi alarms tourism players

Sack loads of plastic waste collected from porches of business premises and drains

In Summary

• Most businesses in the central business district dump their wastes outside their premises, while residents drop plastic bottles and other litter along the road.

• There are hardly any litter bins in the town, worsening the situation.

Police officers, KWS rangers clear a drainage during the Malindi monthly clean-up
Police officers, KWS rangers clear a drainage during the Malindi monthly clean-up
Image: ALPHONCE GARI

Reckless disposal of plastics, food and other waste along Malindi streets and estates has alarmed tourism players. 

They say the environmental degradation caused by careless refuse disposal is a threat to the tourism sector — the region's main economic activity.

Most businesses in the central business district dump their waste outside their premises, while residents drop plastic bottles and other litter along the road. There are hardly any litter bins in the town, worsening the situation. 

On Saturday, the Progressive Welfare Association of Malindi brought together government officials, police, KWS officers and other stakeholders for a clean-up of the town. 

Malindi deputy county commissioner Thuo Ngugi led the clean-up that began at the main roundabout and ended at the post office. 

A police officer cleans a drainage in Malindi town.
A police officer cleans a drainage in Malindi town.
Image: ALPHONCE GARI

Participants collected sack loads of plastic waste from the porches of business premises and inside drainage systems.

Ngugi wondered why people do not take responsibility for ensuring their places of work are clean and litter is dumped at designated areas.

“We thought even if its the responsibility of the county government to clean the town it is good for the residents to come together to support the work,” he said.

Ngugi said he had observed people flouting Covid-19 protocols in their businesses and on the streets.

He said businesspeople contribute to the increase of waste being dumped as litter is strewn all over, a major environmental hazard.

Malindi stakeholders take part in clean-up in the town
Malindi stakeholders take part in clean-up in the town
Image: ALPHONCE GARI

Malindi subcounty police boss Joe Lekuta warned shop, kiosk owners and other retailers against careless dumping of waste material. He said it was sad that waste materials are all over the streets and inside drainage systems. 

“During rains, there is flooding because drainage systems are filled with litter. We urge every businessperson in Malindi to ensure drainage system in front of their shops are clean,” he said. He also urged residents to ensure they throw litter in available waste bins.

Malindi deputy county commissioner Thuo Ngugi flags off the monthly clean-up in the town.
Malindi deputy county commissioner Thuo Ngugi flags off the monthly clean-up in the town.
Image: ALPHONCE GARI

PWAM chair Kate Mwikali called on companies that make plastics to donate bins so people have places to dump waste for recycling. 

She said there are so many plastics from products of chewing gum all over the streets dumped by people using miraa.

“Let them bring dustbins. They can even brand them so that people who chew miraa can dump them inside. These plastics end up in the ocean and are a threat to marine life,” Mwikali said.

Abu Bocha from the Malindi Marine National Park said plastic waste is a major threat to the marine species.

“In the marine park and all protected areas we banned all single-use plastics because they are a threat to the environment,” he said.

He said sea turtles and corals are under threat due to the increased cases of dumping of plastic waste.

Malindi deputy county commissioner Thuo Ngugi, subcounty police boss Joe Lekuta and other participants during a clean-up in the town.
Malindi deputy county commissioner Thuo Ngugi, subcounty police boss Joe Lekuta and other participants during a clean-up in the town.
Image: ALPHONCE GARI

Alex Baya, the officer in charge of the Kilifi county enforcement department in Malindi, said they have tried to ensure the town is clean but people still do not follow the rules.

“We have tried to sensitise people but still, it's happening,” he said.

Sabina Vivaldi, an investor and one of the founders of PWAM, called on the authorities to come up with plans of decongesting the town as tuk-tuks and boda boda have riders become a menace.