By Jaafar Ibrahim Olum
As the world mark ‘World Ocean Day 2022’, those living next to the ocean, along the beach, great lakes or river or not even close to a body of water have been challenged to preserve the ocean from human activities that are impacting the oceans.
Fisheries Enforcement and Marine Resources Protection at Kenya Coast Guard Services in partnership with Mombasa County Government among other stakeholders have urged people along the Kenyan coast line and main land to help in promoting, developing and implementing a sustainable conservation of the ocean and marine resources.
John Karungo, a Kenyan senior officer at the department of fisheries and marine protection said human activities have always been a threat to the ocean.
“Over fishing, climate change, pollution, habitat destruction and other forms of human exploitation have put the ocean at risk,” said Karungo.
With lack of employment in the country and the economic challenges following the outbreak of corona virus pandemic, Karungo added that many people have embarked on fishing – exposing the ocean to overfishing and illegal fishing respectively.
“As you know the Ocean has been instrumental in sustainance and growth of coastal community and the entire country, we should always conserve it for our prosperity,” adviced Karungo.
The County Government of Mombasa said that the use of plastic bottles and materials is putting the ocean at risk.
Speaking to New York Parrot during a clean up exercise along the beaches in Mombasa, Irene Muraguri, an administrator in the county government admitted that a collective approach is needed to ensure that efficient waste management plant required to help recycle plastic waste products to reduce polluting the ocean.
“Most of the waste products being disposed in the ocean are plastic bottles, syringes and other hazardous materials, we should confront this and make it our responsibility to conserve our ocean and stop disposing wastes in the ocean,” said Waruguri.
On the other hand county assembly representative, Hon. Priscilla Mumba disclosed that the Assembly will introduce motions to protect the ocean and use it to promote blue economy in large scale.
This comes at a time when Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has shown determination in taking urgent measures to protect and manage oceans in a sustainable way for present and future generations.
President Kenyatta has emphasized that the conservation of oceans, seas and marine resources can no longer be left out of the broader environment and climate change agenda.
“When we started this conversation that oceans needed to be part of our agenda or mainstreaming oceans in the overall environment and climate agenda, we did so because oceans are a very critical part of the livelihoods of millions of people across the globe,” President Kenyatta said.
Speaking last Friday during a high-level side event dubbed ‘Road to Lisbon’ held on the margins of the Stockholm+50 international meeting, President Kenyatta said Kenya is keen to take the lead and join the global action on conservation and sustainable use of the oceans.
Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI) – Rapid Response Officer Francis Auma while addressing the New York Parrot during the World Ocean Day said that other forms of pollution that impact the health of the ocean doesn’t only come from waste products like plastics but he mentioned oils spills as a contributing pollutant which is affecting the oceans and Great Lakes across the globe.
“Oceans are a means of our livelihood, they contribute to the economic growth and we need policies in place to protect ocean health,” said Auma.
World Oceans Day is an international day that takes place annually on 8 June. The concept was originally proposed in 1992 by Canada’s International Centre for Ocean Development and the Ocean Institute of Canada at the Earth Summit – UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.