World Environment Day was established in 1972 by the United Nations General Assembly and is celebrated each year on the 5th of June to raise global awareness in taking positive environmental action to protect nature and the planet.
Marine pollution is one of the topics we have covered at length with the schools in our Education Programme and the children are always requesting clean up events where they can remove the threats to the marine environment caused by rubbish. So we thought what better to way to mark the occasion than with a giant clean up of our Marine Park beaches?
The LOT team got stuck in to planning the event, a mammoth task where every little detail needed to be considered. How do we effectively clean 5km of beach? How would we get the school children there? How would we sort the waste and how could we ensure that as much as possible would be recycled? How would we transport the waste? How can we provide refreshments for so many participants? The list was endless but with fantastic support and contributions from local and national businesses, organisations, hotels and Watamu residents, the plans were in place.
On the day itself, the LOT team got together at 6am to put in place the final preparations and at 8.30am everyone assembled at designated start points which were indicated on a Beach Clean Map that had been distributed in the days leading up to the event. Bags, coloured ribbons and medical sharps boxes were distributed by the LOT section coordinators and each section of the beach was indicated by colourful markers made with rubbish found during previous beach clean up events.
At 9am everyone descended onto the beach at 8 different sections and the big clean up began. We had decided to sort the rubbish as we collected it so everyone was divided into teams, some collected plastics, some collected glass, some looked out for nasty sharps and medical waste, and others collected everything else like Styrofoam, flip-flops, rope and shoes. All the bags were marked with coloured ribbon to show what they contained, blue for plastics, yellow for glass and red for everything else.
Throughout the event, boats were used to ferry the heavy bags filled with rubbish to the central collection point where every pair of hands available pitched in to move the bags up the beach to be weighed.
Everyone worked extremely hard to clean the beach and then made their way to the central collection point for a well earned soda and snack. To celebrate the event, the schools took part in a fierce tug of war competition and even the teachers got involved.
Approximately 700 people participated in the World Environment Day Beach Clean in Watamu and collected almost 4 tonnes of rubbish.
The event was a fantastic success and could not have happened without the support of the following:
Kenya Wildlife Service, Watamu Property Services, Swahili Coast, Tribe Watersports, Captain Andy’s Fishing Supply, Southern Sky Safaris, Taylor Holdings Ltd, Ocean Sports, Turtle Bay Beach Club, Temple Point Resort, Medina Palms, Garoda Resort, Coca-Cola (Coastal Bottlers Ltd.), Imperial Bank, House of Manji, Karimjee Hardware, the residents of Watamu, and the students and teachers from schools in the Watamu area.