World Environment Day is celebrated annually on 5th June, encouraging awareness and action for protecting the environment. Many non-governmental organisations, businesses, and government entities support it. 2023 is the 50th anniversary of World Environment Day. The theme for this year is #BeatPlasticPollution
Plastic pollution has become a global crisis. Shockingly, the world produces about 380 million metric tons of plastic annually. Plastic is virtually irreplaceable because it is cheap, strong, lightweight, and corrosion-resistant. Plastic is commonly used in packaging and building components, such as piping.
While plastic is durable, this also means plastic waste can be trapped in our environment for centuries if not managed well. While plastics deteriorate into fragments quickly through wear and tear, their polymer chains only break down into other smaller components at very high temperatures, such as during some chemical recycling processes. However, today only 15% of plastic waste is recycled.
To honor this day, we participated in clean-up activities around the Ngong area:
For this clean, we partnered with Friends of Oloolua Forest, a non-profit organisation dedicated to protecting and conserving Oloolua Forest. The community members joined us as we cleaned up the forest. We also planted 50 seedlings and we will look after them to ensure their growth. Additionally, we educated community members about the importance of protecting this natural ecosystem. Oloolua has been plagued by illegal deforestation by community members, and it has become a dumping site for some people. Community members were encouraged to utilize proper waste disposal methods and avoid cutting down trees for wood.
Trash collected during Oloolua forest clean
We met Chris, one of the caretakers of Oloolua Forest. Chris loves nature, and that’s what drives his passion. “Oloolua forest is one of the biggest forests around Ngong area, and its conservation is critical. It’s currently facing deforestation threats from people who are members of the community living near the forest and others who come from far to cut down its trees,” Chris says.
Chris at the oloolua forest clean
Since then, Chris has been updating us on the progress of our trees, and we have also been actively involved in the growth process. We received news from Chris that they are raising funds to have the forest fenced so that illegal deforestation and waste dumping at the forest will end. We assured Chris of our support and are happy to give oloolua forest a second chance at thriving.
We conducted another cleanup at the Ngong SGR waterway in the Ngong area. Our team collected massive amounts of trash, including flip flops clogging up the river and causing zero to no water movement.
Team cleaning up river site
This area is where people pass through to access the main road as they go about their business. We wanted to make it a conducive and clean environment for members of this community.
On the coast of Kenya, we conducted several beach clean-up activities, planted and restored mangrove trees. We collaborated with various organisations, including The Kenya Red Cross Society, Kenya Wildlife Service, Ocean Alive Kenya, The Leaf Project, Bureni Fishermen and Kuruwitu Women Group. These organisations are dedicated to saving our environment, and we’re incredibly proud of their work.
Volunteers at the beach
This world environment day, you can make an impact by participating in our beach clean-up exercises physically and by being a virtual volunteer. When you become a virtual volunteer, you can host a beach clean through donations or purchasing products that help our volunteers during the clean. A donation of 25$ will help remove 182 lbs of trash from our beaches. Furthermore, your donation will help us purchase gloves, trash bags, as well as food and water for the volunteers.
As an individual or groups, you can observe this day by practicing and teaching others about the 3R's of waste management, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. You may be wondering how you can apply this concept in your daily life, well, here's how:
First, you can minimize buying products that come in one-time packaging like in plastic containers. Instead, choose to buy fresh produce from your local market, this way, you'll be protecting the environment while supporting the economy of your local community.
Secondly, it's advisable to choose products that can be reused or recycled before you discard or replace them.
Lastly, another effective way to contribute to the environment is to recycle. Instead of throwing the leftover food in your home, you can recycle them at home and do composting. You can use this for your home garden. Do simple online research on how you can recycle at home, and you may come across several brilliant ideas.
Remember to tweet with the hashtag #WorldEnvironmentDay and spread awareness across all your social media platforms!
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