International Coastal Clean Up Day was marked globally on 16th September. This global initiative is meant to raise awareness of ocean pollution through beaches and waterway clean-ups.
The International Coastal Cleanup began more than 35 years ago when communities rallied to collect and document the trash littering their coastline. This year’s theme, #SeaTheChange, calls upon us to actively take action to protect our oceans.
To mark the day, we headed down to Kilifi, a coastal region in Kenya, to carry out beach cleans! We are passionate eco-warriors, and beach cleaning and community education are among our favourite things to do!
On 2nd September, we cleaned Kwa Ngala Beach in Kilifi in collaboration with:
- Ocean Sole mamas
- The LEAF Charity
- Pweza women
- Katoa Fishers
Our Ocean Sole Mamaz are a group of women who help us with our weekly beach clean ups at the coast, and they recently received their certificate of registration, allowing them to sell other types of plastic to other organisations, mainly bottle tops, which we don’t recycle at Ocean Sole.
This extra income will help the Mamaz, as they like to call themselves, to grow financially!
We love collaborating with our partners at the LEAF Charity to plant mangrove trees along Kenya’s coast. We successfully planted over 1,500 seedlings, which are growing nicely. They are great teachers when it comes to the importance of mangroves and our environment!
Katoa Fishers are a group of local fishermen; we loved engaging them and teaching them about safe fishing practices in the ocean.
Pweza women are a group of women who sell Octopus meat; their participation in the cleaning was vital as they learned how important the ocean is to their business and how they can help protect it.
The sand on the beach was full of microplastics.
What are microplastics? Microplastics are tiny plastic particles that result from the breakdown of larger plastics. It’s impossible to pick them individually during a clean because of their tiny size.
To remedy this, we created a sifter to sift the sand and leave the microplastics on top for easy picking and disposal into trash bags.
After the cleaning, the team enjoyed a delicious lunch of pilau and sodas courtesy of Ocean Sole.
Pilau is a favourite meal in many Kenyan households, especially for people living on the coast of Kenya. It’s rice with beef cooked together with a lot of spices.
When people come together to do good for the environment, it’s further proof that all is not bleak and we can save the future of our planet. We collected 327.67 kgs of trash and are SO grateful to everyone who participated!
We carried out another beach clean for ICC Day at Kwa Ngala beach on 16th September in collaboration with:
- Ocean Sole mamas
- Friends of Nature
- Mtongani mangrove community-based organisation.
- Plan International
- Rotaract’s Club of Kilifi
- Rotary Club of Kilifi
- Pwani University
- The county government of Kilifi
- Kibaoni primary school
- Kilifi primary school
Before the beach clean, we had taught pupils of Kilifi and Kibaoni primary schools about the importance of conservation and the devastating consequences of ocean pollution to marine wildlife.
As part of the curriculum, the pupils must participate in an environmental project, and a beach clean-up was a perfect choice!
We couldn’t miss an opportunity to support the pupils, so we hired a bus to transport them to Kwa Ngala Beach for the exercise.
Everyone gathered at Kwa Ngala at 9 a.m.
We provided gloves, trash bags, and water and began cleaning. At Ocean Sole, we love to do good for the environment, and we’re always happy to have volunteers help us achieve this.
We collected a total of 584.90kgs of pollution! Everyone was exhausted but happy, and we all sat down to enjoy snacks and drinks under the shade.
We stay committed to helping bring awareness to the ocean pollution problem in Kenya.
In the spirit of #SeaTheChange, we encourage you to participate in clean up events near you to help support this cause. Marine debris is one of the biggest threats to the health of our ocean and sea life, and scientists estimate that plastic pollution accounts for up to 80% of marine litter.
Ideally, we would like to stop plastic at the source before it impacts our environment, but we also have to combat the massive amounts of plastic already in our ecosystem.
Get involved in your local community and help to #SeaTheChange!
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