Welcome to the Marine Mammal and wildlife Research and Community Development Expedition blog where you can keep up to date with all the happenings and information from Kenya

Friday, March 12, 2010

Rubbish Council!

Shimoni Health Committee (SHC) was set up to address hygiene and sanitation issues in Shimoni. They have been active within the community and feel the urgent need to resolve concerns. This week they have prioritized waste management in an attempt to put a system in place. Rubbish abounds in Shimoni. It is everywhere. Plastic, paper and cans. There are a series of problems. There are bins dotted around the village but no collection for when they are full. The council has assigned a collection point which is not viable. It is too far away and within the forest. No one really knows where it is and boundaries are not defined. Once the collection point is full again there is the issue of removal. There is no infinite disposal method once it is taken away.

Rubbish in Shimoni Village

The SHC arranged a meeting with the Kwale District Councilor to insist on the introduction of a system which the council should already provide. They want a feasible collection point, removal by container and a local person employed to collect from the bins. Issues run deep and long here. They have previously dumped rubbish in the Slave Caves (now a tourist attraction) and in the ocean. It is a huge first step which is intrinsic to the community.

So on Friday at 2pm, myself, Jemma and Leonie found ourselves setting up tables and name tags. An exhausting challenge in the heat; dealing with uneven ground, with virtually no resources. Slowly shareholders arrived. They represented companies and groups with an interest in how the town looks to visitors as they rely on tourism. At 2:30 we were still waiting for the Kwale District Councilor. After confirming with him twice this week he claimed he was in a meeting and could not get away until 3pm. Then 4pm. Then 5pm. It was disappointing. Not surprising.

Mike, Chairman of SHC

Of the attendees, representatives did come from the local council, the Kenyan Wildlife Service and various tour operators. And there was much discussion. Issues were clarified and points agreed on. The next step is a letter to the District Councilor to demand action. Shimoni deserves it. They have paid for it and received nothing. If nothing happens the residents would like to take the problem to the council. Literally. Surely a pile of rubbish on the door step of the council would provoke a response?! This is our problem. Now it is yours!

Jessica Lewis- Community Internship