The world will embark on one of the largest cleanup projects in recent times this coming Saturday, 15th September 2018. It is estimated that millions of people in over 150 counties will participate in this exercise. Here in Kenya projects are being held independently or in collaboration with Let’s Do It Kenya among other organizations. Early this year Mombasa County signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the international organizers of this project and are set to lead Kenya in this global-civic call of action where Hon. Keriako Tobiko, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Environment is set to participate. Hon. Mike Sonko, the Governor of Nairobi, on Thursday announced that this year’s World Clean Up Day will be integrated into the county’s monthly cleanups where all the 85 wards will participate.
Other projects in Nairobi, along the coast and across the country are being organized by committed Kenya’s environmentalists. Organizations like GAIA Africa, Centre for Environmental Justice and Development – CEJAD, Kisiwani Conservation Network and individuals like Angelika Schuetz and Christopher Muriithi are worth mentioning.
As we participate in this global event, let’s also take the opportunity to remind all stakeholders to continue working towards better public sanitation across the country. This is especially in developing efficient waste management infrastructures and investments in development of desirable environmental values in the citizenry. Some areas of concerns include highway littering, illegal dumping, irregular collection of municipal waste, lack of community involvement in waste management solutions, inadequate oversight of private waste collectors, the challenges caused by single-use plastics and improper management of commissioned dumpsites.
Prominent days like World Cleanup Day remind us of these challenges and prick us to continue the conversation to a greater end. It is not lost to many that we just recently were involved in the World Environment Day and before that a momentous Conservation Day where the Head of State, H.E Uhuru Kenyatta led the country in a massive national civic day of action where thousands of Kenyans planted trees and cleaned their neighbourhoods. Yet many of the challenges mentioned above still exist. Hopefully we can make more progress on Saturday.
At Clean Up Kenya we have expanded our focus to also cast the limelight on the issue of wastewater management. In the coming days, we will continue our engagement with Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities (GPA), UN Environment and Africa Development Bank, among other stakeholders. The last few months we were involved in a wastewater story mapping with Grid Arendal which provides many insights into the problem highlighting some best practices such as those adopted by flower farms like Magano on the outskirts of Nairobi as well as good interventions of greywater recycling at the Human Needs Project in the heartland of Kibera with the water being used by thousands of residents for general hygiene use. There are however many bad practices ranging from residential houses and other establishments not connected to sewers or illegal disposal in waterways by industries. We need to continue to highlight and call for more positive actions on these issues.
Happy World Cleanup Day Kenya and let’s keep the conversation going! CLEAN UP KENYA
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