Every year five to eight million metric tons of plastic end up in the world’s oceans. Only five per cent of plastics are effectively recycled and a third end up in fragile environments. If this trend continues, there will be more plastic than fish by 2050.
Environmental experts and stakeholders in government and private sector convened last month at The Aga Khan University Graduate School of Media and Communications (GSMC) and together, spoke in one voice to call for the recycling of plastic wastes and the need to free marine life. They also looked at solutions that could possibly be adopted as part of the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations – which also target the prevention and ultimate reduction of marine pollution.
During the panel discussions, which also addressed the current state of plastic pollution in Kenya; the effect of the plastic bag ban on the environment and the future plans to recycle other plastic waste by government, industry and civil society, GSMC premiered a documentary themed plastics are forever. The documentary examines how flip-flops, plastic bottles and nets clutter Kenya’s white sand beaches. It also features local efforts to recycle plastic waste and free ensnared marine life.
The documentary, which also opened the second season for the university’s documentary series Giving Nature a Voice, was scheduled to begin broadcast on 17 last December.
Andrew Tkach, director, Environmental Reporting Programme at GMSC and the executivepProducer of Giving Nature a Voice said “when I first started working on this project I remember hearing that Africans don’t care about the environment, and that only big and well-funded projects truly capture the beauty and pathos of the great African landscape. Today however, that perception has been shifted by the reality of the true importance our environment plays in the daily lives of Kenyans, and through documentaries such as the one that has premiered today”, he said.
Mr. Tkach’s desire is to see Kenyans and ultimately the human race in any part of the world embrace environmental conservation and to do so in a more practical manner.
“We have to begin by doing the basic- stop releasing flip flops, plastic bottles and other clutter into the waters! It is also time to embrace technological solutions that can help preserve this delicate future that is ultimately- humanity, so we need to begin to think about the bearing all of this has on our families, the fishermen and so much more”, said Tkach.
The documentary backs the recent ban by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources initiative on the ban of plastic bags. This will contribute greatly to the efforts to protect our rivers and ocean while helping prevent flooding caused by clogged drainages in towns in Kenya.