LAUNCH OF RECYCLING STATION AT NAIROBI NATIONAL PARK
Animals have been living with solid waste in Nairobi National Park for decades. A drive through the park will reveal riverscapes with plastic caught on bushes at the river banks, broken glass bottles in public picnic sites, old rusted metal on the open grasslands, all signs that the urban populated towns are not too far off. Plastic waste, for instance, is carried into the park by rivers from densely populated areas.
Ways to control this waste in the park have proved challenging in the recent past. Garbage bins installed years ago have been broken into by baboons and monkeys. Trash is seen flailing at different areas rendering picnic areas unappealing. Waste is a menace in Nairobi National Park today.
In an effort to curb the menace and end irresponsible garbage disposal, Friends of Nairobi National Park (FoNNaP) set up and launched a recycling station at the Nairobi National Park entrance on Langata Road and had a clean-up activity on June 29, 2018. The station which was donated by the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife (AFEW), allows waste to be separated according to its type for ease of disposal. Waste was categorized into paper, plastic, glass and metal.
Hosted by FoNNaP, the event brought together representatives from Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Multimedia University, Coca Cola, Kenya Association Manufacturers (KAM), Kevian Water, Rotaract Foundation, Alliance Care Foundation and Taka Taka Solutions. KWS extended an appreciation to FoNNaP for installing the station and hosting the clean up on the day. “FoNNaP is doing lots of activities to ensure the environment is clean. Indeed, they are Friends of Nairobi National Park.” Deputy Warden, Maureen Musimbi, who was standing in for Senior Warden Nairobi National Park, Nelly Palmeris said.
Chairperson of FoNNaP, Bryony Anderson, stated that the idea was to take the bins out of the park so animals do not raid them. “The recycling station will get us all thinking, when we go home we think of recycling. When children pass by the station, they will learn to recycle. FoNNaP hopes to focus on it and aim to have them all over the park.” Bryony added that animals and residents of the city have live with it 40 years. “We have lived with it in our rivers and in our food. We should start recycling.”
Assistant Director Parks and Reserves, Abdi Doti, commended the initiative. He emphasized that the establishment of waste stations should take place in schools and at home. He recognized FoNNaP for being a critical partner to the government institution. “FoNNaP has set up water troughs for wildlife in the park, published the Nairobi National Park guide book, hosted the monthly mammal count which helps in decision making and indicates animal numbers that go down. They have installed lion lights, held clean ups and now established that recycling station. We appreciate the work they have done and encourage others to join”
He emphasized that what goes in as waste should come out. “The safety of wildlife is important and we must ensure that rubbish should go where it should. We must collect and recycle. We hope that the same will be replicated at East Gate.” He said, referring to the park’s East Gate entrance.
Corporate Communications Manager, Ngugi Gecaga stated that KWS appreciates what FoNNaP has done. “The park older than the country. It was established 75 years ago on December 16, 1946. It is the first park to be gazetted in Kenya. Today we have 57 parks across the country. This is the reason why we must end irresponsible waste disposal in the park.” He stated that everyone must work together to protect the park. A measure to manage waste is an effort towards the protection of biodiversity.
It was highlighted that waste can be re-used. Fascinating products have been made from recycled material. A sample of an all-weather sign that last for as long as 25 years was shown.