June 4th 2016, the Catholic Youth Network for Environmental Sustainability in Africa (CYNESA) in collaboration with over 12 organizations including National environment authority – nema, World vision – Kenya, County Government of Mombasa, and other Ngos and cbos played host to celebrations marking world environment day 2016.
The activities of the day were carried under three themes; the major theme being “fight against the illegal trade in wildlife” a theme sponsored by the United Nations.
Two other themes included: “promoting zero tolerance on improper waste management disposal” with the slogan “reduce – reuse and recycle” targeting to address the issue of waste and garbage in Mombasa which has emerged as the most visible environmental challenge. The third theme was “join the race to make the world a better place” inviting all humanity to do all within their knowledge to secure our future with speed which has been threatened heavily by climate change as a result of human unsustainable habits.
Two other activities took place separately:
At Kibarani Catholics, the event began with a mass and planting over 200 trees in an area largely affected by soil erosion. The trees also are to further protect the residents from dust as the area has been largely been the heart of industrialization with many industries still coming up. The team which also comprised of school children then marched along the highway carrying banners to Changamwe social grounds.
At Wayani, residents and members of the organizing team were involved in an advocacy and clean – up activity addressing the issue of improper waste disposal management. The area along the Mombasa Nairobi highway has the largest garbage site along the road which is poorly or not entirely managed; Weeks of pilling garbage renders the place filthy and hazardous.
The county government of Mombasa provided loader and trucks which helped in moving the garbage from this site.
Organizing members engaged the residents one on one shedding more information on why they needed to keep clean their environment and refrain from the throw away habit. In this area thousands of plastics are thrown everyday with most of it ending in the drainage systems further causing a health hazard and others finding their way to the ocean putting at risk the lives of aquatic species.
Members were asked to begin using other sustainable and eco – friendly shopping bags which would help in reducing the demand of plastic bags hence helping keep clean and safe their environment.
After two hours of work and talk the team also marched to Changamwe social grounds, and engaged residents and other pedestrians along the way.
At the main venue of the celebrations, schools performed plays and poems aiming to further raise awareness on the themes and to let out the environmental concerns and challenges they face. For example, students of St. Francis primary from the slums of Kibarani while presenting their poem asked one crucial question; “Industries is money what about our health?”
Different organization leaders then took stage to speak raising their voices over challenges they face every day while on mission to restore the earth lost value. The challenges including lack of support from lead government agencies when they request for their intervention on certain matters, residents ignoring their efforts in cleaning areas and planting trees and instead throwing litter wherever and uprooting plantations. The county government department of environment was put to task over its laxity to set mechanism that would ensure litter is collected from homesteads consistently.
Concerns were also raised on constructions of industries carried out with unhealthy materials producing dust and toxic fumes in areas where residents live and children go to school, some developers going further to displace the water in the sea and erect structures here the national environmental management authority was asked to take charge and protect residents from these developers who have their eyes set only for economic growth.
Other speakers including the Director of Haki Yetu (our rights), who is also a catholic priest Fr. Damian Dolan shared with the public very inspirational sentiments many times quoting Popes Francis words contained in the encyclical on care for creation – Laudato Si’. He encouraged the public to protect creation as a command from God and to refrain from activities which damage the earth.
In his speech, the Director for Nema in the County, Stephen Wambua who was also the chief guest, suggested that residents initiate projects to consume organic waste which forms 50% of all waste generated. He further echoed the reduce, reuse, recycle slogan putting much emphasize on reducing the over 870 tonnes of waste generated every day terming it as too much and cannot be managed; soon will render the land full unless reduction is done.
This event had brought together over 600 participants from all over Kenya and was facilitated by Haki – Yetu, World vision, County Government of Mombasa, Association of Sisters of Kenya, Commission for Justice and Peace Archdiocese of Mombasa and CYNESA who were the main organizers. Other partners included Bidii Kwei CBO, Big Ship CBO, Wayani Unit CBO, Chaani Alliance CBO, Big Vision CBO, and Kenya Maritime Authority.
Core Team Member cynesa – Mombasa.