Plastic ban has led to cleaner beaches, conservationists say

A beach clean up exercise. FILE PHOTO | Laban Walloga | NMG
A beach clean up exercise. FILE PHOTO | Laban Walloga | NMG 

The Malindi Marine Park has hailed the recent plastic bag ban enforced by the government for boosting environmental conservation efforts along Kenya's coastline.

According to officials at the park, plastic waste that finds its way into the ocean had drastically gone down following the ban.

“The ban has really helped my team in the conservation of the marine Park and the sandy beaches and we hope that Nema (National Environmental Management Authority) will extend the ban or limit use of plastic bottles,” Marine Park Senior Warden Jane Gitau said today.

Speaking during a clean-up exercise along Coco beach in Watamu, she said her team had collected 534 kilogrammes of plastic waste which is much lower than what was collected two months ago.

Ms Gitau said most of the waste collected during the exercise consisted of plastic bottles which they suspect are from merry makers visiting the beach.

“Plastic bags are the main causes of death of turtles...they confuse plastic bags with jelly fish while plastic bottles usually trap them to death,” she said.

Ms Gitau said plastic bags are partly to blame for dwindling fish populations along the Kenyan coastline saying “they usually suffocate corals reefs that are meant to generate food for fish as well as acting as laying grounds.”

Hoteliers and beach operators from the region also participated in the activity organised by Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) aimed at ridding beaches of plastic waste.