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New partnership to tackle marine litter

By Philip Mwakio | April 29th 2021

A dummy fish filled with used water bottles and cans mounted at Dunga beach in Kisumu to show the impact of water pollution on marine life on March 15, 2021. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Kenya is among 30 countries around the globe that have joined the GloLitter Partnerships Project, a global initiative aimed at tackling marine litter.

Plastic litter has devastating effects on oceans, marine life and human health. It poses risks to navigation of ships. 

The GloLitter Partnerships Project is implemented by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO),.

Funding comes from the Government of Norway through the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad).

It aims to help the maritime transport and fishing sectors move towards a low-plastics future. To achieve this goal, this initiative assists developing countries to apply best practices for prevention, reduction and control of marine plastic litter from those sectors. 

Kenya, through the State Department for Shipping and Maritime, has confirmed its participation as Lead Partnering Country and will take the lead role in the Eastern African region in championing national actions in the context of supporting the IMO Action Plan on Marine Litter and the FAO Voluntary Guidelines for the Marking of Fishing Gear.

‘’The project will also facilitate the establishment of public-private partnerships to spur the development of cost-effective management solutions for marine plastic litter,” said Principal Secretary in the State Department for Shipping and Maritime Affairs Nancy Karigithu.

Dr Karigithu reiterated that Kenya remains committed to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 14 on the conservation and sustainable use of oceans, seas and marine resources. Five regions will be represented in this global effort namely Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Pacific.   

Discarded fishing gear can pose a serious risk to fishermen since the nets or lines can become entangled in boat propellers or cause engine damage. There is also an economic impact when fisherfolk lose their gear or fish are caught in discarded gear. 

Lost containers might also pose a collision hazard for ships.

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