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Washing hands earns school kids Sh100k

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Lifebuoy Help A Child Reach 5 Campaign Ambassador Janet Mbugua (left) engages pupils in washing their hands.

Kabete Vet Lab Primary School, Victory Education Centre Primary School, Tassia Catholic School were Thursday awarded Ksh 100,000 each by Uniliver for strictly adhering to the hygienic practice of washing hands regularly, and when necessary.

Also, three students, Trezy Kaduka of Kabete Vet Lab Primary School, Alvin Otieno of Tassia Catholic School and Lavester Kaduka of Umoja Academy received Ksh 18,000,Ksh 15,000 and Ksh 10,000 respectively for advocating for the practice in their respective schools.

Through their soap brand Lifebuoy, Uniliver started the handwashing campaign to advocate for best handwashing practices that aim to reduce diseases among school going children in a bid to curb school absenteeism.

READ: Janet Mbugua shows how to breastfeed

Hygiene related diseases, which are easily prevented through the incorporation of basic hygiene practices into our lifestyles, have been reported to be the leading cause of death among children under the age of five. Studies show that washing hands with soap is one of the most effective and inexpensive ways to prevent diseases.

In sub-Saharan Africa, the total number of under-five deaths was 2.8 million in 2015, accounting for almost half of the total number of global under-five deaths in the same period, according to the World Health Organisation Global Health Observatory data repository. The same report indicates that the total number of neonatal deaths in sub-Saharan Africa was over 1 million in 2015 and over 780,000 under-five children in sub-Saharan Africa die each year from pneumonia and diarrhoea, which accounts for over half (54.1%) of the global total (490,372 from pneumonia and 295,250 from diarrhoea).

“These numbers are a reflection of our society which is further highlighted by the Cholera outbreak which has unfortunately claimed lives.

“Basic hygiene practices need to be deliberately incorporated in our lives. Top of the list is the use of soap while washing hands at crucial moments such as before having a meal,” said Myriam Sidibe, Lifebuoy Hygiene and Nutrition Social Mission Director Africa, during the Global Hand Washing Day celebrations.

“At Lifebuoy, we understand the impact that handwashing can make and today we are celebrating with the world the achievements that behavior change can bring to a child’s life,” she added.

Unilever Lifebuoy initiated social programs at a global scale to address the issue of making hand washing with soap an everyday habit.  Since 2016 the School of 5 and Super School of 5 has reached more than two million and educated more than 600,000 children in an attempt to change behaviour.

Related: 20 things we use daily that are dirtier than toilet seats

The handwashing programmes implemented as part of the Help a Child Reach 5 campaign are part of Lifebuoy’s broader handwashing programme portfolio. In Kenya, the Lifebuoy School of 5 Handwashing’ intensive 21 day-programme targets to change the  hygiene habits of 12 million Kenyans by 2020 through its Help a Child Reach 5 programme.

“We are putting in deliberate efforts through this integrated behavioral change campaign to help reduce child mortality in Kenya. Reaching out to one child at a time encourages an ecosystem that practices basic hygiene practices thus contributing to a healthy nation,” added Sidibe.

According to the United Nations, the Global Hand Washing Day, which will be marked on Sunday, October 15, is a global advocacy day dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding the importance of handwashing with soap as an effective and inexpensive way to prevent diseases and save lives.

READ: Ten ways to control high blood pressure without drugs

Editor and writer at BUSINESS TODAY, Muli has a passion for human interest stories that have a big impact on economic development. He holds a BSc in Communication and Journalism from Moi University and has worked for various organisations including Kenya Television Service. Email: [email protected] or [email protected]

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Health

Meet a woman who uses an artificial heart

Rose Wahu refuses to allow her heart ailment to kill her goals and has studied up to the university, graduating with a Bachelors degree in Applied Biology from Kenya Methodist University

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As she walks, there is something that goes…Tic.toc.tic. This is not the ticking of a watch or clock, it is the faint, barely discernible ticking of Ruth Wahu Ngwaro’s artificial heart valve that gave her a new lease of life, allowing her to lead as normal a life as her precarious heart condition can allow.

Wahu, the second born in a family of three girls, was born in 1989 at the Guru Nanak Hospital in Nairobi. She has three half brothers. In spite of her eventful life, Wahu has little recollection of her life before the age of 11 much of which she has heard about from her mother.

Wahu recalls: “My mum says I was born normal although I had low birth weight. I always had difficulties in breastfeeding due to shortness of breath.”

Wahu fell ill with fever and diarrhea and was transferred from one hospital after another. She finally landed at Guru Nanak Hospital, her place of birth where she was treated and discharged after two weeks.

The cause of Wahu’s continuous shortness of breath was shockingly revealed to her frustrated mother by a nurse who rhetorically asked her: “Kwani hukuambiiwa mtoto wako ako na ugonjwa wa moyo (Were you not informed that your children has a heart ailment?).

The devastating news had initially been relayed to the girl’s father but he could not find a way of telling her mother. Following the disclosure, she was taken to Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital where she was admitted in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

Catheterisation

“Mum told me that the doctors gave a bleak prognosis about my condition. I was destined to meet my maker any time thereafter,” says Wahu.

However, to the surprise of all concerned, Wahu improved after staying for one week in the ICU and another week in a ward. She was discharged placed under the care of a pediatric cardiologist, Dr H. Aseso.

It was during regular follow-up visits to Dr Aseso’s clinic, now at Kenyatta National Hospital, that four-year-old Wahu was selected through the Heart to Heart Foundation to go to the University of Maryland Medical Hospital in America for specialised treatment.

Catheterisation, which entails the insertion of a catheter into a chamber or vessel of the heart, was conducted to further diagnose her condition and any interventional measures needed. It was here that it was discovered that Wahu had two holes in the heart and one in the mitral valve (the valve that controls blood flow in the heart). Two major open heart surgeries were required to save her life.

Upon returning home in March 1993, she was placed under the care of cardiologist, Dr Betty Gikonyo, the founder of the Heart to Heart Foundation in Kenya and, now the Director of Karen Hospital.

ALSO SEE: How to choose fats that improve your health

“Dr Gikonyo has been so helpful to me.  Four months after my return, my dad died but from then on, Dr Gikonyo waived consultation fees and promised my mum, a house wife then, a job at the Heart to Heart Foundation where she was employed to provide psychosocial support to sick children and their parents for she had a testimony ,” says Wahu.

The visit to Maryland did not completely sort out Wahu’s condition as she would later learn that the hole in the mitral valve had not been repaired. She was ever fragile and had a slow growth rate as a result.

“In 2001, when I was 11 years, I started experiencing pain on the left side of my chest. Investigations revealed that I had a growth in the aortic valve. One valve had a hole, the other had a growth,” says Wahu.

“My mother was given month off to go and raise Ksh 650,000 needed for the hospital bill and air ticket to urgently repair  my mitral valve and my aortic valve,” she adds. Sadly, only half of the required amount was raised.

Crucial operation

But as life would have it, lady luck smiled on her when in the process of fundraising, officials of a charity, Children Heart Link, happened to be in Kenya. They offered to pay for her operation at the Nairobi Hospital. “I had been meeting these people during their yearly visits to Kenya and when they discovered that I had been on the list of those awaiting surgery, they offered to underwrite the costs of the operation that was eventually done by Dr John Kariuki of Nairobi Hospital,” she says.

Her updated medical report was provided to Dr Kariuki by Dr Naomi Gachara. But Wahu says she was very ready for the operation because now, for the first time in her life, it would be life changing.

“The chest pains had remained in spite of the drugs. I was happy that finally, the pains would be gone and I would be able to do normal activities like other children,” says Wahu, adding that her focus was on the post-operation image.

During the crucial operation, Wahu’s fragile mitral valve was replaced with an artificial one, which announces its presence by a discernible tic-toc-tic sound.

When she woke up in the ICU, she found machines blinking and beeping. She was struggling even to open her eyes because she felt dizzy and uncomfortable.

“You have pipes in the mouth, nostrils and on the torso. When I recovered, I discovered that I have two depressions near my stomach. I was told they were cut to put a pacemaker to help the heart in its function after the operation,” says Wahu.

She was at the ICU for four to five days on painkillers throughout. “When the power of the pain killers would subside, ile nduru utapiga, nurse anakuja mbio (Your screams alone would the nurse comes in a hurry),” says Wahu.

Then there were the chest exercises conducted by physiotherapists. “They would place a pillow on one’s chest and ask you to cough. This is to dislodge some mucus discharge,” she says.

Wahu says patients who have undergone surgery should be kept in seclusion to protect them from post-surgery infections. “When patients come out of a major operation, everyone is excited to see him or her. It is easy for them to pick infections,” she notes.

After the operation, Wahu was able to play with children her age although some of them still considered her to be fragile.

Though Wahu’s education was affected by prolonged ill health, she managed to successfully attend various schools. She sat for her KCPE exam at Gateway Primary school in Githunguri in 2004 and later KCSE at StephJoy in 2009.

Determined to make a difference in society, Wahu enrolled at the Kenya Methodist University and pursued a degree in Applied Biology with a major in Microbiology. “I studied Microbiology because it is research-oriented and I wanted to make a difference in the field of research,” she says. Wahu did internship for three months at the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) in 2014.

Youth advocate

After graduating, she felt the need to start an organisation that would bring together people who had undergone or were waiting to undergo heart surgery and shared the idea with her pediatric cardiologist Dr Naomi Gachara whom she had been frequently seeing on her follow ups clinics.

“I had developed such a wonderful mother-daughter relationship with her. She could offer me support whenever I was in need,” says Wahu, adding that Dr Gachara connected her with Jackie Mbugua, who was also her patient. “I contacted a colleague of my mother during her stint at Heart to Heart Foundation, Mr Samuel Keter Sang, also a heart patient.”

READ: 10 ways to control high blood pressure without medication

Through the trio’s efforts, the Kenya Mended Hearts Patients Association (KMPHA) was birthed and registered in May 2017. She is also a youth advocate lobbying for people living with Non-communicable diseases together with National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK).

Wahu is currently seeing Dr Bernard M. Gitura, an adult cardiologist at Kenyatta National Hospital. “For a cardiac patient, you must always consult your cardiologist; you can’t just buy drugs over the counter because you don’t know how they will interact with the prescribed medicine you are on,” says Wahu, who continuously thanks God and well-wishers for her life.

Dr Gitura started seeing Wahu three years ago when her heart started misbehaving because of another  medical condition. “I started seeing Wahu three years ago. When I saw her, she was almost going into heart failure. Her heart had fast, irregular beats,” says Gitura.

Rose-Wahu-300x199 Meet a woman who uses an artificial heart

Kenya News Agency reporter Esther Mbuthia (right) listens to the tic ticking sound of Ruth Wahu Ngwaro’s heart at the Department of Information headquarters at Uchumi House, Nairobi during the interview. She had three holes in the heart and has an artificial Mistral Valve. Credit: KNA

Gitura, who is also the President of the Kenya Cardiac Society, says: “The medical condition she presented then needed the attention of a cardiologist for adults and we were able to assist her by changing her medication,” says Gitura, adding that Wahu is currently in stable condition.

“Personally, I’m on anticoagulants – blood thinners – because I have an artificial valve,” says Wahu. “My mitral valve was taken out and the one I have is an artificial one. You can even hear it tic ticking like a watch,” she says as she moves her chest near this writer’s ears.

She says that when she does something strenuous like running, it will only beat faster like for that of a normal hearted person. “I’ve participated in the Kenya Cardiac’s Societies’ walks on World Heart Day and I also did the same on Friday, September 29,” she says.

READ: What to do when you can’t pay cash owed to a friend

Wahu laments that medicines for heart illnesses are quite expensive and are not covered by insurance companies. Even the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) does not take care of the medicines.

“Every cardiac patient is unique and so the medications are all patient-specific. There are some patients who are not on medication after surgery while other patients whose conditions are too severe for even an open heart operation to be performed on them will depend on drugs for the rest of their lives,” says Wahu.

KMHPA has about 145 members who include heart patients and guardians of children with heart complications, and is an affiliate member of the Kenya Cardiac Society (KCS).

Their mission is to advocate, educate and create awareness while giving hope to the patients, their families, friends and supporters. The co-founders and members are all supportive of one another. They can be reached through mobile number 0731010734 or email address: [email protected].

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Health

10 ways to control high blood pressure without medication

By making these lifestyle changes, you can lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease.

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Eating a diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products and skimps on saturated fat and cholesterol can lower your blood pressure.

If you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure, you might be worried about taking medication to bring your numbers down. Lifestyle plays an important role in treating your high blood pressure.

If you successfully control your blood pressure with a healthy lifestyle, you might avoid, delay or reduce the need for medication. Here are 10 lifestyle changes you can make to lower your blood pressure and keep it down.

1. Lose extra pounds and watch your waistline

Blood pressure often increases as weight increases. Being overweight also can cause disrupted breathing while you sleep (sleep apnea), which further raises your blood pressure. Weight loss is one of the most effective lifestyle changes for controlling blood pressure.

Losing just 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) can help reduce your blood pressure. Besides shedding pounds, you generally should also keep an eye on your waistline. Carrying too much weight around your waist can put you at greater risk of high blood pressure.

In general:

  • Men are at risk if their waist measurement is greater than 40 inches (102 centimeters).
  • Women are at risk if their waist measurement is greater than 35 inches (89 centimeters).
  • These numbers vary among ethnic groups. Ask your doctor about a healthy waist measurement for you.

SEE ALSO: Easy ways to lose weight without spending a shilling

READ: How to burn off that extra fat

2. Exercise regularly

Regular physical activity — at least 30 minutes most days of the week — can lower your blood pressure by 4 to 9 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). It’s important to be consistent because if you stop exercising, your blood pressure can rise again.

If you have slightly high blood pressure (prehypertension), exercise can help you avoid developing full-blown hypertension. If you already have hypertension, regular physical activity can bring your blood pressure down to safer levels.

The best types of exercise for lowering blood pressure include walking, jogging, cycling, swimming or dancing. Strength training also can help reduce blood pressure. Talk to your doctor about developing an exercise program.

READ ALSO: Innovative fitness 

3. Eat a healthy diet

Eating a diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products and skimps on saturated fat and cholesterol can lower your blood pressure by up to 14 mm Hg. This eating plan is known as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet.

It isn’t easy to change your eating habits, but with these tips, you can adopt a healthy diet: Keep a food diary. Writing down what you eat, even for just a week, can shed surprising light on your true eating habits. Monitor what you eat, how much, when and why.

Consider boosting potassium. Potassium can lessen the effects of sodium on blood pressure. The best source of potassium is food, such as fruits and vegetables, rather than supplements. Talk to your doctor about the potassium level that’s best for you. Be a smart shopper. Read food labels when you shop and stick to your healthy-eating plan when you’re dining out, too.

SEE: How to choose the right food for your body

4. Reduce sodium in your diet

Even a small reduction in the sodium in your diet can reduce blood pressure by 2 to 8 mm Hg. The effect of sodium intake on blood pressure varies among groups of people. In general, limit sodium to less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) a day or less. However, a lower sodium intake — 1,500 mg a day or less — is appropriate for people with greater salt sensitivity, including: Anyone age 51 or older, anyone diagnosed with high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease.

To decrease sodium in your diet, consider these tips:

  • Read food labels. If possible, choose low-sodium alternatives of the foods and beverages you normally buy.
    Eat fewer processed foods. Only a small amount of sodium occurs naturally in foods. Most sodium is added during processing.
  • Don’t add salt. Just 1 level teaspoon of salt has 2,300 mg of sodium. Use herbs or spices to add flavor to your food.
  • Ease into it. If you don’t feel you can drastically reduce the sodium in your diet suddenly, cut back gradually. Your palate will adjust over time.
SEE: How to use pepper to keep blood pressure away

5. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink

Alcohol can be both good and bad for your health. In small amounts, it can potentially lower your blood pressure by 2 to 4 mm Hg.

But that protective effect is lost if you drink too much alcohol — generally more than one drink a day for women and for men older than age 65, or more than two a day for men age 65 and younger. One drink equals 12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor. Drinking more than moderate amounts of alcohol can actually raise blood pressure by several points. It can also reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure medications.

READ: Make your own beer at home using this machine

6. Quit smoking

Each cigarette you smoke increases your blood pressure for many minutes after you finish. Quitting smoking helps your blood pressure return to normal. People who quit smoking, regardless of age, have substantial increases in life expectancy.

7. Cut back on caffeine

The role caffeine plays in blood pressure is still debated. Caffeine can raise blood pressure by as much as 10 mm Hg in people who rarely consume it, but there is little to no strong effect on blood pressure in habitual coffee drinkers.

Although the effects of chronic caffeine ingestion on blood pressure aren’t clear, the possibility of a slight increase in blood pressure exists.

cup-of-coffee-at-java-1024x683 10 ways to control high blood pressure without medication

If your blood pressure increases by 5 to 10 mm Hg, you may be sensitive to the blood pressure raising effects of caffeine.

To see if caffeine raises your blood pressure, check your pressure within 30 minutes of drinking a caffeinated beverage. If your blood pressure increases by 5 to 10 mm Hg, you may be sensitive to the blood pressure raising effects of caffeine. Talk to your doctor about the effects of caffeine on your blood pressure.

READ: Why Kenyan women live longer than their men

8. Reduce your stress

Chronic stress is an important contributor to high blood pressure. Occasional stress also can contribute to high blood pressure if you react to stress by eating unhealthy food, drinking alcohol or smoking.

Take some time to think about what causes you to feel stressed, such as work, family, finances or illness. Once you know what’s causing your stress, consider how you can eliminate or reduce stress.

If you can’t eliminate all of your stressors, you can at least cope with them in a healthier way. Try to:

  • Change your expectations. Give yourself time to get things done. Learn to say no and to live within manageable limits. Try to learn to accept things you can’t change.
  • Think about problems under your control and make a plan to solve them. You could talk to your boss about difficulties at work or to family members about problems at home.
  • Know your stress triggers. Avoid whatever triggers you can. For example, spend less time with people who bother you or avoid driving in rush-hour traffic.
  • Make time to relax and to do activities you enjoy. Take 15 to 20 minutes a day to sit quietly and breathe deeply. Try to intentionally enjoy what you do rather than hurrying through your “relaxing activities” at a stressful pace.
  • Practice gratitude. Expressing gratitude to others can help reduce stressful thoughts.
SEE ALSO:  Seven lifestyle changes you must make to be successful in life

9. Monitor your blood pressure at home and see your doctor regularly

Home monitoring can help you keep tabs on your blood pressure, make certain your lifestyle changes are working, and alert you and your doctor to potential health complications. Blood pressure monitors are available widely and without a prescription. Talk to your doctor about home monitoring before you get started.

Regular visits with your doctor are also key to controlling your blood pressure. If your blood pressure is under control, you might need to visit your doctor only every six to 12 months, depending on other conditions you might have. If your blood pressure isn’t well-controlled, your doctor will likely want to see you more frequently.

10. Get support

Supportive family and friends can help improve your health. They may encourage you to take care of yourself, drive you to the doctor’s office or embark on an exercise program with you to keep your blood pressure low.

If you find you need support beyond your family and friends, consider joining a support group. This may put you in touch with people who can give you an emotional or morale boost and who can offer practical tips to cope with your condition. [source: Mayo Clinic]

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Health

Massive partnership to fight malnutrition launched

TechnoServe, Partners in Food Solutions (PFS) and Cereal Millers Association (CMA) seek to improve the capacity of manufacturers in fortifying maize and wheat flour with important nutrients

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Fortified maize flour. Partnership will address challenges millers face in the areas of efficiency, sourcing and capacity, which can complicate their efforts to improve food fortification

Using a cross-sector approach to food fortification, a new multi-million dollar partnership has just been launched to address malnutrition, one of the most serious health problems in Kenya and other African countries.

Non-profit international development organisation TechnoServe, along with the non-profit industry consortium Partners in Food Solutions (PFS) and Cereal Millers Association (CMA), a member organisation of Kenyan flour processors, are partnering to improve the capacity of manufacturers in fortifying maize and wheat flour with important nutrients.

The Strengthening African Processors on Fortified Foods (SAPFF) programme in Kenya, Nigeria and Tanzania–supported by a Ksh 1.03 billion (US$10 million) grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation–will leverage partnerships with global food processing companies to provide business and technical expertise to CMA members.

Improving the efficiency, competitiveness, profitability of CMA members is in turn expected to strengthen the capacity of millers to comply with regulations on fortifying processed foods that came into effect in 2013.

Food fortification has been widely identified as a cost-effective strategy for addressing micronutrient malnutrition at scale. In Kenya, more than one in four children under the age of five is stunted, with poor nutrition a prime factor in nearly a third of deaths of children under five. Malnutrition also contributes to poor growth and physiological deficiencies in children, birth defects, high rates of disability and illness, and overall lower productivity, which can reduce countries’ GDPs.

Working with food processors is a key factor in improving food fortification, as rapid urbanisation in Kenya and other African countries has greatly increased the consumption of packaged and processed foods such as maize and wheat flour. Kenya has had tremendous success with salt iodization programs introduced in 1990, and mandated edible oil, wheat flour and maize flour fortification in 2012. While the country is making steady progress on fortification, much more progress is possible.

ALSO SEE: Food fortification helps fight malnutrition

“The SAPFF programme is a holistic approach to increasing nutritious food availability by addressing challenges that millers face in the areas of efficiency, sourcing and capacity, which can complicate their efforts to improve food fortification,” said Rizwan Yusufali of TechnoServe, Director of the SAPFF project, while launching the programme.

The SAPFF programme will enable CMA members to access expertise from companies under the PFS consortium, including General Mills, Cargill, Bühler, Ardent Mills, The Hershey Company and DSM.

“CMA welcomes this initiative under the SAPFF, as it will not only boost the processing capacities of our members but go a long way towards giving Kenyans access to healthier and more nutritious foods,” said CMA Chairman Nick Hutchinson.

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Health

Group sets out to change the tide against ocean pollution

Watamu Marine Association (WMA) in Kilifi county has embarked on an ambitious project of clearing ocean beaches of plastic rubbish and turning the marine trash into worth

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Conservationists at the Watamu waste recycling centre show some of the art works made of marine debris. Credit: KNA

Pollution of the ocean by plastics and trash is an all-too-common sight with devastating marine implications the world over.

According to the World Atlas, nearly 513 million tonnes of discarded plastics wound up in the oceans every year threatening the environment.

Beaches full of floating plastic garbage are unattractive to tourists and pose danger to the globe.

Along the coast line from Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi and Lamu counties, the sandy beaches are littered with plastics that have been washed up from the ocean.

But a recycling start up spearheaded by the Watamu Marine Association (WMA) in Kilifi county aims to change the sorry situation.

It has embarked on an ambitious project of clearing ocean beaches of plastic rubbish and turning the marine trash into worth.

The project is aptly dubbed Eco-World Watamu Recycling Centre and is touted as the answer to recycling waste, promoting health and community wealth besides creating increased public awareness.

It seeks to solve plastic waste problem along the coastline and reduce debilitating poverty of coastal communities at the same time.

The centre is dedicated to the conservation of plastics, glass and solid waste materials that posed grave threat to the environment.

WMA is educating and improving the lives of poor coastal communities living on seashores by engaging them to keep the beaches around them clean.

Community members formed a group called the Blue Team that go about cleaning beaches and bringing trash at the eco-centre.

Over time, the centre bought a plastic crasher machine to crash the waste and package it for sale to plastic manifesting industries.

WMA bought a plastic crasher machine to crash the plastic wastes and flip flops, package them and sell them to plastic generating industries.

Recycled plastic and beer bottles are being used as construction materials in building homes.

The chairman of WMA Justin Kitsao says community members join hands in picking rubbish along the sandy beaches and brought to the plastic bottle recycling plant.

He says reusable plastics collected by local communities are brought to the eco-world recycling plant in Dabaso fishing village near Watamu resort town and exchanged for cash tokens.

Kitsao revealed that the centre generates income for locals from the sale of recyclables and sells crashed plastic to recycling plants in Mombasa and Nairobi.

“The penultimate goal is to clean up the environment and empower communities,” he said during the interview Monday, adding that plastic waste remain a major concern to conservationists.

ALSO SEE: Plastic bags ban a godsend for green investors

The chairman said clearing marine debris from the ocean and beaches was important not just for restoring the natural beauty of beaches, but also for saving marine life.

He added that birds and sea animals mistook trash such as plastic bags, cigarette lighters and bright colored plastic as food and may suffer from internal injury and intestinal blockage then starve to death.

Kitsao says apart from the unsightly appearance and potential impact on human health, marine debris has harmful effects on marine life.

Several houses and parameter walls around Watamu and Dabaso constructed and filled with plastic and beer bottles is a common sight.

Kitsao says his conservation lobby is calling on the communities around the oceans to capitalize on the money making opportunities that recycling offered.

The conservationist predicted that there would be a significant reduction of debris in the Indian Ocean following the ban on plastic carrier bags.

Julie Alego, an environmentalist, says the ban would go a long way in saving marine life.

She said the survival of sea turtles, dolphins, sharks and whales have been under threat from the floating marine debris.

“By using waste bottles for the construction of ecological houses, we found an effective solution for reusing the plastics,” she said.

 

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