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Kenya joins ocean clean-up bid

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Kenya has joined 40 other countries across the world in the fight against ocean and sea pollution as part of interventions to roll back the consequences of an increasingly polluted planet.

The country signed to take part in the United Nations Environment #CleanSeas campaign that aims at countering the torrents of plastic trash degrading oceans and seas and endangering the life they sustain.

The 40 countries within coastal lines, from Kenya to Indonesia and Canada to Brazil, account for more than half of the world’s coastline.

The three-day UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) that ended on Wednesday at Gigiri, Nairobi, challenged countries to ban plastic bags as part of measures towards a clean environment.

Environment Cabinet Secretary Judi Wakhungu said Kenya’s marine ecosystem had been spared by the plastic ban effected this year.

“Every year, tonnes of polythene bags and other waste is collected from oceans, especially during coastal clean-up days,” said Prof Wakhungu.

She said the oceans were littered with all types of polythene bags, which were found in marine animals’ stomachs.

About eight million tonnes of plastic are dumped into the ocean yearly, according to the UN Environment Department.

The plastics endanger fish and birds and other creatures, who mistake it for food or become entangled in it.

Plastic waste has also entered the human food chain with health consequences that are not yet fully understood. It also harms tourist destinations and provides breeding grounds for mosquitoes carrying diseases, including dengue and Zika.

UN Environment head Erik Solheim said the countries supporting CleanSeas are showing the leadership needed in order to end ocean abuse and protect the marine resources on which millions depend for their livelihoods.

“The #CleanSeas campaign aims to “turn the tide on plastic” by inspiring action from governments, businesses and individuals on ocean pollution,” he said.

During the assembly,…

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