Posted by Justus Sune | Kenya-Africa, Kenya
The overarching purpose of this project was to conduct an analysis of the sources and movement of plastic debris in the Athi/Galana and Sabaki River Basin Watersheds. Plastic debris has the potential to negatively impact marine and terrestrial ecosystems, and has social impacts through degraded beaches, declining real estate values, and detrimental health effects. Current management efforts have not reduced excessive transport of plastic debris from the terrestrial environment to non-impactful levels. To our knowledge, this is the first project that has focused on identifying the major sources of terrestrial plastic debris in a highly urbanized region. Through our analysis, litter was found to be the main source. A suite of recommended action items, based on a qualitative assessment of feasibility and effectiveness, include litter reduction efforts, product bans, comprehensive statewide legislation, improvement of local regulatory mechanisms, increased monitoring of production facilities, reduction in single-use items, product innovations, and improved data collection methods. These action items have the potential to substantially reduce the flow of plastics to the Indian ocean, beaches, and rivers, benefiting a wide range of local stakeholders, and setting a precedent for the application of this type of assessment and application in other highly urbanized watersheds.