On 25th March 2017, Caroline Kawira, ACP YPN expert on Food Security took part in the joint clean up at public beach and boat launch sites in Lake Naivasha in Naivasha, Nakuru County held by UNESCO Youth Forum Kenya, in collaboration with UNEP, CLEAN-UP Kenya among other organisations. The 5 main sites of collection were Kenyatta Avenue, Nakuru-Nairobi Road, Karagita, Karagita public beach, and Kamere. Over 3 tons of litter – ranging from plastic, glass and paper, to clothes, rubber and electronic waste – were picked at the sites, highlighting the growing problem of marine litter. The purpose of the cleanup was to raise awareness of the increasing threats to freshwater bodies and a call to action to save Lake Naivasha’s ecosystem. This was an initiative held to mark #WorldWaterDay2017.
The activities involved collection of waste into 4 different bags depending on the type. The 157 volunteers were organized into groups of 5 and then assigned a group leader who used the reference materials given to advise the other members on which bag to put each of type waste into. As a way of motivating massive collection, each group counted how many pieces of waste they collected and the winning group was crowned kings and queens of waste. Mr. Kiogora Murithi, Director of Environment at Nakuru County, was present, and he encouraged more such collaborations in the future involving citizens, civil society, international organizations and other stake holders. In addressing the challenges of waste management in general – and in particular, protection of common heritages such as lakes, rivers and oceans – Mr. Murithi noted that “as a county, we also support the recent ban by the National Government on the use of plastic bags.”
After all the waste was collected, it was taken to Karagita community cooker in Karagita, a slum in Naivasha. It is at this site that they incinerate plastic waste to be used as fuel to feed the cooker that will be used to cook food for the hotel that is under construction. Due to the extremely high incineration temperature, the fumes released are harmless to the environment.
The cooker was made for 3 main purposes: to address sanitation, health and aesthetic issues associated with the growing mounds of rubbish in informal settlements; to provide communities with alternatives to charcoal, firewood and paraffin for cooking meals and boiling water; and to act as a platform from which Community Based Organizations (CBO’s) and institutions can run cost-effective income-generating activities. Right now at Karagita they are renovating the community cooker, and a group of entrepreneurs have been given the mandate to renovate and operate a hotel that will make affordable food, targeting the flower farm workers around the area. They will employ 15 people to operate the cooker and the small hotel associated with it.
by Caroline Kawira, ACP YPN expert on Food Security
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