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Campaign signage. Photo; Nelmo Newsong

In Nairobi, Kenya’s capital city, an estimated 2,400 tons of waste is produced on a daily basis and 20% of this is in form of plastic waste. In Mukuru, one of the largest slums in Nairobi, the issue of environmental degradation through plastic pollution is fast becoming a threat to the residents. Waste is often dumped in these informal communities where it accumulates through time and represents a major health hazards to the people living in these areas.

The STEPP project is therefore relevant in Mukuru as it will engage the community members in siting the different challenges they face with plastic pollution in their community and also come up with possible mitigation measures that they themselves can undertake in order to minimize environmental degradation.

The community champions were youths in the community whose main role in the project was to interact with the community members and document their daily interactions with plastics and the effects of plastics in the environment.

Champions interviewing communities. Photo: Julius Rasat

As Mukuru Youth Initiative, we always believe in using art for social change thus the need to in-cooperate artists in the project. Both the music and mural artists will use their art to sensitize the community on plastic pollution, effects they bring about to the environment and some of the solutions to this problem.

Before we kicked off with the project’s activities, we held a training which also dubbed up as an orientation to the champions, artists and staff members who were to be part of the project.

It was essential for us to know the most common plastic materials that community members often use in their households so as to be able to sensitize them on how better they can manage the items either by reducing, re-using or recycling them. For this exercise, our champions were able to make rounds in the community and identified a total of 29 dumping sites in Mukuru Kwa Reuben and Viwandani.

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