Lakeside city welcomes waste mobile phone app as the world marks Environment Day

Kisumu County Executive Committee member Tourism head Farida Salim participates in the launch of a new anti-pollution mobile phone application yesterday. Photo Credit: Steve Misori

By Steve Misori I

A mobile phone application that is expected to help reduce plastic pollution in Lake Victoria has been launched.

Dubbed M-Taka, the app seeks to help residents living around the lake region manage their plastic wastes through information dissemination and exchange.  

The new invention comes at a time when there has been increased plastic pollution in the country especially in the lake region.

Speaking during the World Environment Day in Kisumu, western Kenya, managing director of Taka, Benson Abila, said the invention of the mobile phone app was necessitated by the dynamics posed by  plastic waste disposal.

Mr. Abila said that the app will offer locals a new platform to sign up and receive local waste management tutorials.

“This app seeks to promote effective plastic waste management by ensuring locals access ready remedies in environmental conservation,” he said.

The environmentalist decried the rising level of plastic waste presence, which has frustrated the efforts of attaining a cleaner Kisumu city.

“We shall station our agents in every corner of the city in order to reach out to locals willing to give out their plastic waste for recycling,” he announced.

He noted that the app enhances the low recycling percentage to even greater heights since it is an environmental savvy tool. He reiterated that it will push the recycling of plastics to about 100 per cent and their role in the whole process is to sensitize the residents on their actual input in managing waste.

Speaking at the event, Stela Kamwasir, the Nyanza regional director National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) termed M-Taka a timely innovation.

“As stakeholders, we believe the initiative is the only practical and convincing way to stop plastic bottles from entering the lake,” she said.

The environment officer said that even as the locals are sensitized, they must desist from the common practice of adopting the use and dumping of plastic materials.

She challenged the youths to take up their space in meaningful plastic waste disposal referring to them “as the greatest consumers of the plastic wastes.”

Ms Kamwasir identified streets and institutions of learning as the greatest sources of plastic wastes, adding that youths have a responsibility to dispose plastic wastes in a manner that protects the environment and water sources.  

The mobile app has a number of features which include plastic waste management services, tutorials on recycling plastic wastes and the benefits of embracing a clean environment.

Early this year, studies showed fish samples in the lake’s Winam Gulf contained traces of micro plastics. In mid-2017, the government of Kenya introduced the gradual ban of plastics in order to protect water sources which are providers of life.  The government is yet to register success on the actualization of the ban.

The theme of this year’s World Environment Day is under the campaign #BeatPlasticPollution, ‘Ecosystem Restoration’. It is a reminder that people’s action on plastic matters as the material is slowly seeping into our oceans, soil and forest and causing irreparable damage.

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