A total of 17.9 tonnes, or 17,911.56kgs, of waste were collected in a week-long clean-up drive along the Kwale coastline.

Locals and volunteers including school children in a beach clean-up exercise during which massive plastic waste and other pollutants were collected in South Coast beaches, for a week long exercise.

The drive was carried out ahead of International Coastal Clean-up Day, marked in Shimoni on Saturday.

The day is marked to conserve the ocean and document the amount of trash littering the ocean every year.

The waste collection continued to Sunday.

In Likoni to Diani, 4,643kgs were collected, in Gazi 718kgs were picked. Some 489.5kgs were collected in Msambweni and 2,512.16kgs in Mkwiro. In Wasini, 2,626.5kgs were collected while in Vanga 2,705.8kgs were picked.

Most of the waste collected will be recycled. “We are striving to make sure everything we collect is recycled and used to manufacture useful products,” Base Titanium’s environment superintendent Micah Muema said. He cautioned residents against littering the coastline.

Kwale Environment chief officer Mohammed Pakia said they have started to instal bins along the coastline.

He said the bins will be marked for different kinds of waste.

“Plastics will be put in a different bin from papers, food waste and metals. The programme has started in Diani and we will extend it to Shimoni,” Pakia said.

He asked residents to sort waste in their homes and offices.

County director of fisheries Martin Kiogora asked fishermen to use proper equipment to avoid degrading the marine life.

“When fish consume plastics, we later consume them, which is risky to our health,” he said.

Wasini Beach Management Unit chairperson Ahmed Abubakar urged residents to collect waste regularly.

Kwale residents and environmental organisations, including WWF, Base Titanium, Nema, the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute and the county government, collaborated in the drive.

In June, DP William Ruto directed the Environment ministry to set a date for a monthly cleaning of counties to rid them of plastic waste.

Ruto said Kenya alone disposes of two million tonnes, with 90 per cent going to the ocean. He said plenty of plastic waste end up in the ocean.