Three bag Sh6.8m to scale plastic innovation


Lucy Atieno Ondere, Hanifa Hamza Hassan, and Beatrice Dama Kasena, representing Oceania Pacesetters takes home KSh 1.2 Million at the recently concluded Mombasa Plastics Prize Challenge, a youth-led initiative designed to address the impending plastics pollution problem within Mombasa’s informal settlements, while creating sustainable social enterprises. PHOTO | POOL

Mombasa Plastics Prize Awards has announced Top Three Teams to Take over USD 50,000 for Scaling their Plastic Innovation.

Twende Green EcoCyclers emerged top bagging Sh3.5 million, while the second Runners Up position went to Team Oceania Pacesetter securing Sh 2.5 million and Third Place Team is Team ECO-Redemptors Sh 1.2 million.

The awards, which showcased the most effective solutions to tackle Mombasa’s marine plastics problem, were the culmination of a six-month initiative funded by USAID and Global Affairs Canada.

The prize sought to inspire and up-skill young leaders, especially women, aged between 18 and 25, to develop creative interventions that encourage individuals and communities in Mombasa to address marine plastic pollution in informal settlements.

National Environmental Management Association (NEMA) Director of Compliance and Enforcement,Mr David Ong’are, representing the Director General said, Plastics are the largest, most harmful and most persistent, amounting to at least 85 percent of total marine waste.

 “Mismanaged waste aggravates the triple climate change crisis; nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution. The Ministry of Environment has therefore invested in driving the country’s transition to a green growth and circular economy, which means focusing efforts on recycling, reuse, and reducing plastic waste. Two such efforts are the Green Economy Strategy and Implementation Plan (2016-2030) and The Sustainable Waste Management Act 2022,” he added.

Mr Ong’are added that with these investments, Kenya has strengthened its international reputation as a good steward of the environment.

“We are excited to see Mombasa County upholding these commitments against marine plastics mismanagement,” he added.

Anna Ghnouly, representing USAID Kenya and East Africa Environment Office said the event and the success of the Mombasa Plastics Prize is a testament to the incredible youth involved.

“Because of this success, and the brilliant innovation and energy of each participant, I am honored to announce today that USAID Kenya will be launching a business accelerator program to help them take their ideas to the next level, and continue leading in the fight against ocean plastic pollution,” Ghnouly.

Jonathan Slater from the  International Development Director of Challenge Works, said the initiative provided a unique opportunity to create lasting change and forge a sustainable, plastic-free future for the County,” Said Jonathan Slater.

The prize was built upon the Afri-Plastics Challenge, a continent-wide plastics innovation challenge worth over Sh700 Million, which saw five Kenyan startups out of the total nine startups scoop over Sh 340 Million (£2M) to scale their ideas at the inaugural Afri-Plastics Summit and Awards ceremony.

The event was presided over by PS Environment, Festus Ngeno on 17th March 2023.

“We thank the Mombasa Plastics Prize judging panel, coaches and mentors for their valuable input. They include experts from different fields including plastic waste management, social entrepreneurship, innovation, youth skills development, sustainability and the circular economy,” said Slater.

Mombasa County CECM Public Service Administration, Youth, Gender, Sports and Social Services Kenneth Amanbai said the county was proud to lead the country in embracing innovative solutions.

“With these creative ideas that our young people have developed over the past few months, Mombasa is well on its way to achieving its Green Cities goals as outlined in our County Solid Waste Management policy,” added Amanbai.