WORLD ENVIRONMENTAL DAY CELEBRATIONS HELD IN UKUNDA KWALE COUNTY
A Platform for Action World Environment Day is the United Nations'(UN) most important day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment. Since it began in 1974, it has grown to become a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated in over 100 countries. The People's Day above all, World Environment Day is the "people's day" for doing something to take care of the Earth. That "something" can be focused locally, nationally or globally; it can be a solo action or can involve a crowd of people coming together for action towards a common goal. Therefore everyone is free to choose.
Each World Environment Day is organized around a theme that focuses attention on a particularly pressing environmental concern worldwide. The theme for 2018 thus was ‘beating plastic pollution’. Every World Environment Day (WED) has a different global host country, where the official celebrations take place. The focus on the host country helps highlight the environmental challenges it faces, and supports the effort to address them. Last year's host was India.
As earlier mentioned, the global theme for last year’s WED is “Beat Plastic Pollution” where governments, industry, communities as well as individuals were encouraged to come together and explore sustainable alternatives and urgently reduce the production and access use of single-use plastic polluting oceans, damaging marine life and threatening human health. The slogan for last year's event is "Greening the Blue". . In Kenya, the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) is mandated by government through its’ national steering committee to organize the yearly events.
Last year’s event was held on 1st to 6th June 2018, at Kwale Baraza Park in Kwale County and was graced by Kenyatta University Environmental Club Members (KUNEC) among other participants invited to mark the event. The bus left the campus 8.a.m in the morning went through Mombasa road to Mtito Andie, where the students had a stopover for 30 minutes for refreshments and some photos. They continued on their journey to Mombasa town and later took a ferry to Ukunda, which is approximately 40km from Mombasa town. On arrival to Ukunda, they were welcomed by a resort owner who later accommodated them at a private residence for three nights.
This was a clean-up day and students woke up very early and proceeded to vanga mainland which is about 90 kilometers from Ukunda, where the event was to take place. This village is in Kwale County near the Kenya Tanzanian border and was highly polluted with plastic bags and bottles. Students joined the other participants in the beach cleanup and tree planting exercise where around 1000 mangrove seedlings were planted.
After the cleanup the students proceeded to Diani beach, where they had a life time experience of enjoying the sand beach, sea bathing, cool sea breeze and watching the sea from a vantage point in the coastline.
This was the D- day and Students went for the world environmental day celebration in Ukunda showground and helped in the preparation of the venue. The main speech was given by the chief guest Deputy President, followed by the cabinet secretary for Environment and Forestry and other speeches from invited dignitaries. In the afternoon there was a luncheon sponsored by the county Government of Kwale. After the luncheon, students left to their rest room for the night.
The main event for the day was the stakeholders’ forum which deliberated on issues touching the recent plastic bags ban by NEMA and alternatives of the plastic bags. This event was held in Pride Hotel in Mombasa. The facilitators were safaricom, NEMA and United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP). After this event students left for Nairobi back to the University.