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

Monday, October 22, 2012

Litter picking day at Shimoni Academy is a huge success!

Garbage. At home you don’t even think about it. You put it in the trash bin, the garbage man picks it up and it just disappears. There are trash bins pretty much everywhere and therefore the streets are fairly clean. Here in Shimoni it’s a bit different. There is no garbage system whatsoever, so what do you do when you have a plastic bottle or a paper bag that you don’t use anymore? You just throw it on the ground. Most local people burn their trash, but there is still a lot of it everywhere in the village. 

Step 1:  Round up the troops and make a plan of action for litter picking
I have been living in Shimoni for quite a few months now, so I don’t even notice it anymore. But today, I’m walking to one of the schools, Base Academy, for wildlife club and suddenly I see garbage everywhere again. Today is litter picking day! Last week we taught the students about different types of garbage and how long it takes for each type to disappear. Did you know it takes a 100 million years for a plastic bottle to degrade? We also talked about recycling and taught them a song about the three R’s (reduce, reuse, recycle) which was quite a success. Now it’s time to put theory into practice. 

Step 2: Wear barriers 

Step 3: Pick up litter from the school grounds

We arrive at Base Academy and take standard 3 up till standard 7 outside. We brought gloves for everyone to keep their hands clean and disinfectant to clean their hands afterwards, and every class gets a trash bag. The students are all very excited and eagerly start picking up trash around the school. Students walk around with hands full of trash and the trash bags are quickly filling up. It doesn’t take long for the first student to come to me asking for a new trash bag. The sun is bright, it’s a very hot day, but the kids work hard and in just an hour we manage to cover a very big area. In total we fill up about 12 bags full of garbage! If it wasn’t for me not bringing enough trash bags, the students would probably have filled up a lot more. 
Step 4:  Put litter in rubbish bags.
We walk back to the school and one of the Kenyan teachers gives a speech about how important it is to keep your environment clean and that today is just the beginning of it. I thank the students for their amazing effort and for the great day. We explain to them that we will take the trash bags home to get rid of the garbage, but the students don’t agree with this. They want to help carrying the bags to our house! So off we go, a whole group of kids carrying trash bags, walking through the streets of Shimoni village. We get a lot of attention as the students loudly sing the wildlife club song. 

Step 5:  Take filled rubbish bags to a place of disposal whilst singing appropriate songs
After we say goodbye to the kids, I can’t help but feeling so happy for the rest of the day. It was such a great day. The kids were all working very hard and it was great to do something with them outside of class. Bring on the next litter picking day!

Lisanne Spruit – Shimoni Community Field Staff and former volunteer

Step 6:  Squeeze over 30 children into small area to dispose of rubbish
Step 7:  Sanitize your hands!