Blue Economy – Kenya Should Intensify Action on Plastic Waste Management

Plastic pollution in Kenya

Plastic pollution in Kenya

By Winnie Kabintie

Kenya has been positioning herself as a market leader in harnessing the economic potential of the Blue Economy.

Blue Economy Key To Attainment Of Kenya’s Vision 2030, President Kenyatta Says

President Uhurtu Kenyatta in 2020, maintained that Kenya has prioritized the sustainable utilization of its ocean and blue economy resources as an enabler of the Vision 2030 economic blueprint.

“It is clear that the ocean economy is a smart investment that can deliver social, economic, and environmental benefits to our people.

As such, Kenya is keen to fully realize the potential of its 142,400 square kilometre Exclusive Economic Zone. However, as we do so, we will steadfastly protect our marine resources even as we pursue its enhanced development and productivity,” President Uhuru Kenyatta said in December, 2020 while presiding over the national launch of the New Ocean Action Agenda.

According to the government, the Blue Economy in Kenya has the capacity to create 10,000 jobs and raise 480 Billion Shillings to GDP every year and has been touted as one of the frontiers that can help tackle the looming youth unemployment crisis in the country.

Efforts made by Kenya so far to promote sustainable utilization of the country’s ocean resources include; the reconstruction of the Liwatoni Fisheries Complex at a cost of Kshs 318 million, training of fishermen, set up of Bandari Maritime Academy as well as the launch of the Kenya Coast Guard Service.

Unfortunately, Kenya will not reap the benefits of the blue economy, if the management of plastic waste is not prioritized, as experts continue to warn. While Kenya has a progressive ban on plastic bags, plastic pollution in our water bodies remains a major threat.

What’s in the Blue Economy?

The Blue Economy is an emerging frontier that aims to make sustainable use of ocean resources and the maritime to foster improved livelihood and jobs creation.

The ocean is reportedly one of the biggest economic frontiers, which is valued at around US$1.5 trillion per year. 80% by volume of all global trade is moved by shipping, then there is offshore oil and gas and deep-sea mining, water sports.

Siddharth Chatterjee, the UN resident coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, while speaking at the youth conference on the Blue Economy at the UN-Habitat, cited that the biggest opportunity for the youth in the blue economy is in Aquaculture, which is the fastest-growing food sector and provides about 50% of fish for human consumption.

Globally, 350 million jobs are linked to fisheries according to data by the World Bank, which also estimates that by 2025, 34% of crude oil production will come from offshore fields.

Kenya, will not harness the benefits of the blue economy if the country does not focus on preserving marine ecosystems particularly by dealing with plastic pollution, which is the biggest threat to the marine/aquatic ecosystems according to the United Nations Environment.

Current estimates by the United Nations Environment show about eight million metric tons of plastic are thrown into the ocean each year and warn that plastic waste dumped into the ocean could increase tenfold by 2020 outnumbering fish in the ocean by 2050.

Kenya’s plastic bags ban, which has been lauded as one of the toughest in the world has helped a great deal in curbing plastic pollution but the slow infiltration of plastic bags in the market due to corruption and flexed enforcement of the existing legislation is threatening to reverse the gains made since the ban was enforced in 2017.

The Chairman of Jumuia ya Kaunti za Pwani (JKP), Emanuel Nzai, during a recent stakeholder meeting with the Kenya Maritime Authority, called for enhanced enforcement of the laws to ensure compliance.

“We are seriously facing the threat of pollution. If nothing is done, the fishermen will possibly only be harvesting plastics,” Mr Nzai said.

BLUE ECONOMY – KENYA SHOULD TAKE ACTION ON PLASTIC BOTTLES WASTE MANAGEMENT

 

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Bill and Melinda Gates Announce Divorce after 27 years of Marriage

Melinda and Gates Divorce

Melinda and Gates Divorce

Bill Gates, the Microsoft founder and his wife Melinda, have announced that they are divorcing after their 27-year-marriage.

The couple announced the divorce in a joint, 9-sentence tweet, saying they no longer believe they can continue to grow in the next phase of their lives as a couple.

After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage,” Melinda and Gates said.

The couple however maintained that they would continue their joint work on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the massive charity which funds programs in global health, gender equality, education and other causes.

Over the last 27 years, we have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives. We continue to share a belief in that mission and will continue our work together at the foundation, but we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives.

Bill Gates Divorce

Bill Gates Divorce

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Kenya Airways Resumes Flights to Nairobi/Kisumu/Mombasa

Kenya Airways

Kenya Airways

Kenya Airways (KQ) resumed its domestic flights on Sunday, May 2, 2021, following the lifting of the restriction of movement in and out of Nairobi by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Labour Day.

KQ has suspended all domestic flights on  29th March following a Presidential Executive order on COVID-19, which among other restrictions had placed a lockdown, zoning out five counties namely; Nairobi, Kiambu, Machakos, Nakuru and Kajiado.

Kenya Airways said it will fly two times daily to the coastal city of Mombasa and once daily to the lakeside city of Kisumu as it continues to review the option of increasing frequencies as demand picks.

“KQ continues to work closely with the Government of Kenya through the Ministry of Health and Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) to enforce safety measures and protocols. The airline’s utmost priority remains the health and safety of the passengers, crew, and staff,” the airline said in a statement.

All passengers and airport users are still required to strictly observe the safety measures in place to ensure the safety of all airport users.

ADDRESS BY H.E. HON. UHURU KENYATTA, C.G.H, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA AND COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF THE DEFENCE FORCES ON THE OCCASION OF THE LABOUR DAY CELEBRATION AT STATE HOUSE, NAIROBI SATURDAY, 1ST MAY, 2021.

During his National Address on Labour Day, President Uhuru Kenyatta issued the Public Order No. 3 of 2021, where he lifted the lockdown in the “Red Alert counties” and extended the countrywide curfew from 8 pm to 10 pm.

…..”Data from our medical experts suggest the same trend in the zoned area we put on lockdown during my March 26th 2021 address. After one month of lockdown, the COVID caseload within the zoned area has come down by 72%. In other areas of the Republic, the COVID caseload fell by 89% in Mombasa and 90% in Busia between March and April 2021,” Uhuru said.

President Kenyatta also gave a nod to the resumption of in-person and congregational worship, even though congregants attendance is capped to 1/3 (One-third) of the capacity of the place of worship.

Restaurants, which had earlier been limited to only selling “take away meals” have also been allowed to resume operations in accordance with the guidelines issued jointly by the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife. 

“Restaurants are encouraged to utilize outdoor spaces to maximize on physical and social distancing,” Uhuru said in his statement.

Bars have also been allowed to operate but until 7:00 P.M.

Political gatherings remain prohibited untill further notice.

 

 

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Covid-19 Vaccine Shortage Bites

By Terry Boke

A nurse at M.P. Shah Hospital Nairobi prepares the AstraZeneca vaccine

A nurse at M.P. Shah Hospital Nairobi prepares the AstraZeneca vaccine

There has been a global shortage of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine which has forced many people to wait a little longer than the expected eight-week window period to get their second dose.

This scarcity has been heightened by a surge in Covid-19 cases in India, where the vaccine is manufactured.

Until now, it was expected that Kenya should have a stock of 2.5 million doses of the second batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

In a recent media briefing, Health Secretary Mutahi Kagwe confirmed that the delivery of the next consignment of the vaccine may take time until after May 2021 but the majority of people are hoping that the vaccines can arrive in the country sooner, before the 12-week maximum period that one has to wait between the first and the second dose being administered to persons who have had their first jab.

Health Secretary Mutahi Kawe Expecting 2 Million Doses

In an effort to combat this shortage and have a backup of the much-needed vaccines, the Cabinet Secretary said that the government is making plans for acquiring two million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech which is given in two doses just like the AstraZeneca vaccine, and Johnson & Johnson vaccine which is a one-dose prescription. This is in collaboration with the African Union (AU). However,there were no concrete timelines promised for the delivery of these alternative vaccines and their availability for the Kenyans will purely be dependent on the success of the agreement between the two parties.

“Once we have concluded our deal, we expect one million doses for Pfizer-BioNTech and maybe another one million for Johnson & Johnson once production is ramped up,” said Kagwe. “That combined with what we can get from Covax facility (in this case AstraZeneca) should be able to allow us to continue with the vaccination process.”

As much as the government is doing it’s very best to ensure that it gets enough vaccines for the Kenyan population, all the vaccination protocols will be observed to ensure that there will not be a mix up of the different brands when administering the second dose.

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Fighting in Mogadishu

By The Kenya Forum’s Somalia Correspondent

The African Union has 20,000 peace-keeping troops in Somalia

The African Union has 20,000 peace-keeping troops in Somalia

The anticipated fighting between forces loyal to Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed (nicknamed “Farmajo”), whose term in office expired in early February, and clan militias and elements of the security forces loyal to other clans and opposition political leaders finally broke out in Mogadishu last Sunday evening.

The fighting came after weeks of tense and ultimately inconclusive discussions around the long overdue Somali national elections, which should have happened in September 2020. Mogadishu has now become a series of political and clan-aligned enclaves. The Hawiye clan, which is the largest in Somalia and which also dominates Mogadishu, have also summoned forces from elsewhere in south/central Somalia.

The trigger for the fighting appears to have been the re-location of  an entire, Hawiye-dominated Somali National Army unit from Middle Shabelle, a region just outside the capital. (Al-Shabaab has notbeen able to re-take the abandoned towns because of the presence of African Union troops.) At the time of writing neither side appears to have the upper hand, with Turkish-trained elements of the security forces remaining loyal to Farmajo, along with units dominated by his clan (the second largest clan in Somalia, the Darod).

Casualties are unknown due to internet and cellphone outages but they can be expected to be high, both amongst combatants and civilians. The President appeared on television on Tuesday and many expected him to resign – but, instead he called for calm and a return to his original concept for the election, which caused to furore in the first place. He will address the Somali parliament on May 1st, but for the moment at least the gun play has been halted.

Opposition Divided

To compare the current situation to the early 1990s, when the Mogadishu centre did not hold and plunged the whole country into a quarter century of chaos, is notMogadishu map to exaggerate the seriousness of the current situation. The opposition is not a unified block and if it were to seize power from Farmajo, immediate infighting can be expected, as happened in the 1990s.

But there are differences as well. The edges, the Federal Member States of Jubbaland to the south and Puntland to the north, are much stronger and supported respectively by Kenya and UAE. They will try to avoid being dragged down with Mogadishu and the central states, as Somaliland managed to do in the 1990s.

The balance of international power is different as well. Condemnation of Farmajo’s self-extension of term prompted strongly worded responses from the UN and the western elements of the international community.

20,000 African Union Troops

But there are now alternatives: the actions of Ethiopia, Turkey and Qatar (and their rivals) are worth watching and it is also interesting to note that the Russian Ambassador visited Mogadishu last week. While the African Union (which has over 20,000 peace-keeping troops in the country) condemned the extension, troops often act in line with national agendas, not direction from the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa.

The challenge in the short term for Farmajo will be to hold on to the centre and, at a political and physical level, survive. Inevitably, though, it will be the population who suffer, as collateral damage in fighting in the short term, and as vital international support is effectively halted in the medium and longer term.

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Who Killed Dr Robert Ouko and Why?

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