Reducing solid waste at the Jomo Kenyatta Public Beach

Using Dialogues to Initiate change in Solid waste management at the Jomo Kenyatta Public Beach

On 20th February 2019, CORDIO East Africa facilitated a stakeholder dialogue workshop to discuss issues of waste management around the famous Kenyatta public beach in Mombasa. The workshop was organised under the umbrella of CORDIO’s SDG Labs project and was attended by 29 participants drawn from various sectors including county government of Mombasa, community-based organisations and the private sector.

Poor solid waste management has and continues to be a major problem that has negatively impacted the marine and social environment of public beaches around the world including Jomo Kenyatta public beach. Littering, indiscriminate dumping and inflow of waste into the ocean through the Mto Panga river mouth have affected the marine environment causing pollution (both marine and terrestrial) thus leading to reduced socio-economic gains, a situation that the SDG lab seeks to change for the better. Inadequate resources to motivate volunteers remains a major barrier to change. However, all hope is not lost with some members having persevered and are passionately involved in various aspects of solid waste management.

Challenges and Opportunities

During the workshop discussions, lack of sustainable involvement by the community and volunteers came out as the main challenge impacting current initiatives on waste management. As it stands, volunteers are unable to earn an income from waste due to various reasons including lack of adequate market/recyclers of waste, lack of appropriate tools etc.
Illegal dumping and lack of cooperation from the public and individuals producing waste was also cited as a major challenge, a sentiment also shared by NEMA and county department of environment.
To forge solutions into the poor waste management menace, a community member narrated on their recovery, recycling and reduction initiatives necessary for improving the current state. Other efforts by actors present such as CBOs/ environmental club representatives from Kilifi and Kwale counties, and other communities/organisations in Mombasa county were also shared.
Despite the reduced amount of waste collected along Kenyan beaches through the International Coastal Clean-up initiative in 2018, the amount of plastics remains high (waste characterisation data analysis – the ICC- Kenya chapter and CORDIO).

In order to understand the solid waste management context in the County, representatives from the County Department of Environment, Tourism and the National Environmental Management Authority were involved in a plenary session outlining challenges that included illegal dumping, lack of cooperation from the public and individuals producing waste.

A review of the solid waste management hierarchy provided an understanding on how to tackle solid waste and the related opportunities in which the community can benefit. A learning opportunity involved a scenarios session using the world café style (round table setup where all participants are given an equal platform to contribute) with 4 participant groups watching scenario videos, developing an imaginary scenario focusing on the Jomo Kenyatta Pubic beach. This ignited conversation about the probable outcomes based on the four scenarios with various issues identified by the four groups.
Consequently, these discussions led to identification of a number of actions to support ongoing initiatives. These actions include constant cleaning, public advocacy and awareness against littering and dumping targeting fellow community members at the public beach

Focus on Jomo Kenyatta Public Beach

A ‘road map for action’ session saw participants identify the current solid waste management problems at the public beach based on, ‘what/ who needs to change?’, and the actors/ linkages required to improve the situation.

Way Forward?

The workshop ended with a general consensus by all participants to carry the following recommendations forward by collaborating to improve the status of the public beach;

  • * Scale up the current efforts of recyclable materials under the initiatives started by the community and facilitated by the lab.
  • * Replicate the efforts to recover, reuse and recycle in other sites along the coastal counties.
  • * Integrate more stakeholders into the lab such as beach management units to maintain beaches effectively.
  • * Improve awareness, monitoring and management efforts currently undertaken by various actors and the county government through cooperation and collaborations
  • * Support the volunteers at Jomo Kenyatta Public beach through learning and best practice exchanges.
  • * Produce briefs with recommendations targeting the County and other stakeholders involved in decision making.


County Government of Mombasa- Department of Environment; Department of Tourism and Trade; NEMA; the Kenya Wildlife Service; International Coastal Clean-up – Kenya Chapter, CBOs: Saving mother earth; Takkazi; Timbwani Community Network; the volunteer group under the SDG lab – ‘Greenview Group’; Coasts and Reefs club of Pwani University; TUM Environmental Club, the North Coast Residents and Ratepayers Association (NCRRA), Kenya Coast Blue Economy (KECOBE); Bamburi Beach BMU just to mention a few.

We would also like to thank all the stakeholders that are supporting the lab through various initiatives.