Cleaning up the beaches of Mombasa

Written by Sumaya Harunany and Fazeela Mubarak.

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It’s 10:00 am in the bright city of Mombasa, the air is slightly cool with a bit of humidity, in the narrow alley ways near Mlango wa Papa, it’s a buzz, hawkers are selling fruit, coconuts and vegetables, the grocery shops are open, women clad in the Swahili burqa go about shopping, hand carts are being pulled with goods to be delivered. In the middle of the street, Abadallah Mwai sits in a tuk-tuk with a mouth speaker urging people not to litter, reuse plastics and keep their resident beach clean.

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Aweso Hussein, who is the founder of Mombasa Coast Conservation organized a beach cleanup in the coming days and wants everyone to take part.

A few hundred meters from here is the residential beach. Here two boats are docked, the tide is low, the perimeter around the hull is engulfed in a sea of plastic bottles. Polythene bags which were banned in Kenya more than a year ago, still wash up here. Black Indian crows which are an invasive species hover above the trash, scavenging off what they can get, this is their haven. A few feet from here there are mounting ghost fishing nets that have been washed away. This scene continues for miles on end.

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The local fisherman who use this site for their sustenance complain of low fish populations. Ghost nets lurking underneath the ocean trap turtles, damage corals and suffocate marine life. Green turtle hatchings, which were a common site in the area have now become rare.

Despite the widespread litter Aweso is committed to restoring the beach. He has managed to recruit a few dedicated volunteers to his cause and named their group Mombasa Coastal Conservation, which is led by Sumaiya Harunany. They meet up every once a month to clean-up the beach. Armed with latex gloves and face masks they start the laborious task of removing rubbish from the beach. Slowly but steadily the number of volunteers who show up for the cleanups are increasing.

They have so far managed to conduct four cleanups collecting a total of 1,610 kgs of what is mostly plastic. All of which is possible thanks to Aweso’s resilience for a clean healthy beach.

He firmly belives healthy beach equals a thriving community and looks forward to a clean beach where crabs will be seen scurrying around and new turtle hatchlings as they make their way toward the vast ocean. On the 21st of December he will lead his group of volunteers for yet another cleanup.

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Follow Aweso’s journey as he cleans up Mombasa’s beaches @Mombasa.Coast.Conservation  at Mlango wa papa this Saturday from 10 am onwards.

I, Habiba Bien, will be attending as a Sustainable Lifestyle Blogger representing  Trashion Kenya together with other Organizations in unity for this noble cause.

Let’s conserve our Mother Earth.

Reduce | Reuse | Recycle. ♻️ 

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