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‘Mchanga Pekee’ a campaign that aimed at rescuing seashores from plastic waste

Wednesday November 18 2020
Revellers

Dar es Salaam residents having fun at Coco Beach

By The Citizen Reporter

Dar es Salaam. A large percentage of marine waste that is seen in the oceans come from onshore through rivers, drainages, and beaches.

According to research, it is estimated that each square kilometer of ocean contains 13,000 plastic pieces of waste material.

A recent study conducted by International Council of Beverages Associa­tions (ICBA) says there are 15 million pieces of plastics waste in the ocean currently.

Another important report from Ocean Conservancy’s 2018 International Costal Cleanup established that during coastal clean-ups, cigarette butts are predominant with an average of 2.4 million pieces.

This is followed by food wrappers with an average of 1.7 million pieces, then plastic bottles 1.6 million, plastic caps 1.1 million and plastic carrier bags 757,523 pieces forming five groups of much collected debris during coastal clean-ups conducted by more than 100 countries across the world. 

In Tanzania, our Mtwara, Dar es Salaam, Bagamoyo, Tanga and Zanzibar coasts have much similar shape and conditions considering human activities with improper plastic bottles disposal into the waterways such as rivers and drainages, as key factor.

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If this situation is not addressed, it is estimated that by 2050 oceans and seas will have more plastic materials than fish.

Such a situation and more information from environment related features, Coca-Cola Kwanza decided to act through a special campaign dubbed “Mchanga Pekee.”  

Sea

Sea weed seen at Coco beach before the clean up started. PHOTO| COURTESY

Mchanga Pekee

In February 2019, beverage makers Coca Cola launched a 12-month campaign which they christened Mchanga pekee, with the aim of cleaning up seashores.

Organisers say the campaign was conceived with a specific focus on educating, training, engaging and influencing on plastic waste disposal within our communities through coastal clean-up, plastic bottles collection, recycling and plastic bottles in Tanzania.

“Coastal clean-ups are done by engaging respective communities through imparting knowledge which keeps them in safe, sustainable and desirable habitat in an effort to free coastal sand from unnecessary plastic waste,” says a statement released on Monday.

It adds: In addition, plastic bottles collection is key to environmental safety and significantly preserves ecology of pre-existing environment.

Mchanga Pekee Campaign was categorized into two main activities, with each reflecting the common goal of educating communities through engaging in preservation and conservation of environment.

The main tasks of the campaign are coastal clean-up and plastic bottles purchase for recycling purposes.

“Not to mention, the campaign is also built to enable, encourage and monitor coastal clean-ups across the country aligned with plastic bottles disposal best practices. It is also a platform to increase mass awareness over environment conservation best practices particularly plastic waste and a reminder to community towards importance of environment conservation,” reads the statement.

The initiative is also set to bring together key players of industries sector and plastic bottles manufacturers to engage in environment conservation.

Coastal clean-up

Organisers say Mchanga Pekee has so far managed to recruit young, dynamic women in Coco Beach who clean the beach five times per week, eight hours a day from February 2019 to February 2020.

“They clean the beach every Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The women have been handed employment contracts, necessary tools, and environment education.”

Through the campaign Coca-Cola Kwanza Company has placed almost 10 waste containers in different places across Coco Beach with each container carrying crucial message to remind revellers to properly dispose waste.

Through coastal cleaning team, Mchanga pekee campaign has identified, through cleanup, high number of plastic bottles pieces out of disposed waste, others being safety pins, syringes, food wrappers, straws, plastic closures, plastic bags as well as food crumbs.

Coco

Coca-Cola Kwanza Tanzania director of communications Haji Ally Mzee (left) speaks in Dar es Salaam during the launch of Mchanga Pekee Campaign. Mchanga Pekee a campaign aimed at promoting the collection of plastic bottles and the preservation of the seashores. He is flanked by the campaign ambassador Mrisho Mpoto

Positive impact

Mchanga Pekee Campaign has so far managed to reach majority people in community manifesting its primary objective of educating community on coastal clean-up. 

On most weekends, Coco Beach receives an average of 300 to 500 people at different intervals.

“Whoever walks in is certain to meet our cleaners at work to clean every single portion. Along the way, visitors are greeted by diverse calls and messages written on every single waste container reminding beach user to conserve environment for future generations,” reads the statement.

Currently, over the 5,000 people have read such displayed messages and managed to use special waste containers, to dispose waste after consumption.  

Through the coastal cleaners’ taskforce, an estimate of 150 plastic bottles, over 250 plastic closures and large amount of marine debris which moved onshore by powerful oceanic waves, are collected.

A stockpile of collected debris by Mchanga Pekee taskforce is reserved in a safe place for Kinondoni Municipal Council dumpsters to collect them.

Collected plastic bottles are transported directly to plastic bottles recyclers for manufacture of plastic goods.

This campaign has beautified the area and given Coco Beach a new look, attracting many tourists compared to the past.

The visitors have attributed Mchanga Pekee Campaign, as innovated, founded and organized by Coca-Cola Kwanza Company, as initiative which has made great changes in Coco Beach.

 As of now, Mchanga Pekee taskforce has collected over 8,500 plastic bottles waste around Coco Beach and have all been dispatched to the recycling companies to make plastic goods.

Among other factors, taskforce is also obligated to educate the beach goers about environment conservation taking into consideration recent coastal conservations context.

Trash for cash

The trash for cash is a brainchild of Mchanga Pekee campaign improvised for mass awareness in residential areas and streets regarding environment conservation.

Through this Coca-Cola Kwanza buys plastic bottles at Sh50 each. The Company targets to buy 15,000 used plastic bottles per month from different places.

The exercise was launched in February and the campaign aims to deliver environmental education to all people in different communities and regions in the country where every month the task force chooses a destination where it provides quality plastic waste disposal education.

So far, the campaign has been successful in various places in Dar es Salaam including Mbagala (Temeke District), Manzese (Ubungo District), Tandale (Kinondoni District), Mwanyamala-CCM Mwinjuma (Kinondoni District), and Buguruni chama (Ilala District).

In each of the areas the campaign has successfully provided environmental education to approximately 5,000 residents.

On the other hand, over 60,000 used plastic bottles have been purchased by the initiative.

The price used for the purchase of bottles in this campaign is four times that of market price.

Other dealers buy used plastic bottles basing on their weight where 1 kg of used plastic bottle price is approximately between Sh200 and Sh250 per kilo of used plastic bottles contains between 25 and 30 pieces, which, if sold by piece through our campaign, one would earn between Sh1,000 and Sh1,500.

The execution

Anyone who brings used plastic bottles for sale is met by Coca-Cola Kwanza taskforce person who counts the number of submitted bottles and gives special coupon that grants him an access to a special delivery vehicle for respective payment.

This exercise was designed to be very simple and it enables the bottle holder to get his money quickly as possible and with a great deal of transparency.