State Department of Tourism Principal Secretary John Ololtuaa spearheaded a beach clean-up in Kwale County to tackle marine debris and promote environmental conservation.

Ololtuaa emphasized that the primary goal was to raise public awareness about the dangers of marine pollution and the critical importance of maintaining clean beaches.

“Pollution of the ocean by plastic and trash is a common sight with devastating implications for marine life,” Ololtuaa remarked.

He highlighted the vital role that beautiful beaches play in coastal tourism, attracting both domestic and international tourists. He urged county governments bordering the Indian Ocean to maintain beach cleanliness through regular debris removal and environmental stewardship.

“We need to foster an understanding of responsible waste management and the necessity of clean beaches to bolster the tourism sector and address environmental challenges linked to waste,” he said.

Volunteers, tourism stakeholders, and environmentalists participated in the clean-up, collecting bags of beverage bottles, plastic containers, cigarette packets, and other debris along the sandy walkways and near the shoreline.

Ololtuaa warned that the presence of plastics and other debris along the coastlines discourages tourists and tarnishes the reputation of beach destinations. He pointed out that marine rubbish can suffocate wildlife and make beaches hazardous and unsightly for visitors.

The clean-up event, coordinated by the State Department of Tourism and the Kwale County Government, culminated in the planting of mangrove trees at Kongo River Beach.

The Diani Beach clean-up focused on collecting 800 kg of plastic waste, rubber, and glass from a 4 km stretch of the beach. Waste bins were also placed at strategic points for beachgoers to use.

Ololtuaa highlighted Diani Beach’s status as a top tourism destination in Kenya, having been voted the best African beach destination for seven consecutive years by the World Travel Awards.

“Diani Beach is a preferred holiday destination for many Kenyans and foreign visitors, receiving a record number of holidaymakers each year,” he said.

Despite its popularity, Ololtuaa noted that Diani Beach lacks proper waste disposal facilities, leading to improper waste disposal by beachgoers.

Accompanied by Kwale County Commissioner Stephen Orinde and County Tourism Executive Michael Mutua, Ololtuaa called for more regular and sustainable clean-up exercises in coastal counties such as Kwale, Mombasa, Kilifi, and Lamu to address marine pollution.

He urged authorities to encourage beachgoers and tourists to use waste bins along the shorelines and for local governments to explore sustainable ways of maintaining clean coastlines through clean-up campaigns, community engagement, and changing attitudes towards sanitation.

“Regular beach cleaning exercises and proactive measures to tackle marine pollution are essential to preserve our coastlines, protect marine life, and sustain tourism numbers,” Ololtuaa concluded.


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