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14 November 2023 (TADJOURA, Djibouti): The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), in collaboration with the Government of Djibouti through the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development and the local governments of Obock and Tadjoura, organised a 2-day beach cleaning event in the coastal towns of Tadjoura and Obok to spur public initiatives fostering beach cleaning practices.

On the first day, the delegation from Djibouti City, comprising IGAD represented by its Blue Economy team and officials from the Djibouti Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, paid a courtesy visit to the Tadjoura local government officials, who welcomed the team to the town and assured them of their support for the exercise.

The Prefect of Tadjoura, Mr. Mohamed Houmed Abass, welcomed the Ministry officials and IGAD team, emphasising the importance of the Blue Economy to the people of Tadjoura and beyond. He stated, “Plastics pose a great danger to the environment. Plastic pollution is a regional issue that we all need to focus on as a community of the region in a continuous and consistent manner.”

Mr. Mohamed Houmed Abass led the visiting team in the beach cleaning exercise, where large numbers of the youth and women from Tadjoura showed up to support the initiative.

Speaking on behalf of Mr. Daher Elmi, Director Agriculture and Environment, IGAD, at the launch of the beach cleaning exercise in Tadjoura, Dr. Wassie Antenneh, IGAD Blue Economy Expert, noted the urgent need to raise awareness about plastic use and routine management as part of people’s lifestyles. “Nowadays, plastics are increasingly being used in our daily activities, including packaging in different food and brewing companies, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and other production sectors that need to pack their end products for efficient and safer delivery to the community.’’ He noted.

The team proceeded to Obock town, where they met the Regional Council President, Mr. Mohamed Houmed Ismael, and the Prefect of Obock, Mr. Moussa Aden Miganeh, who welcomed the initiative and assured their support.

The Regional President of Obock highlighted that climate change is a significant threat, and raising awareness about plastic pollution is a necessary step towards mitigating its effects. He also welcomed IGAD’s technical expertise and support in their ongoing mangrove conservation plans. “On the northern part of Obock is a vast mangrove forest area that sometimes serves as buffer zones for plastic waste. This exercise also contributes to mangrove conservation. IGAD’s technical expertise can be of help in mapping and developing mangrove protection projects.” He added.

The beach cleaning exercise is part of the IGAD Blue Economy strategy aimed at curbing the rising threat of plastic pollution to the environment, particularly marine and aquatic life.

The region-wide campaign aims to achieve the following objectives:

  • Collect plastic waste on the public beaches of the cities through community mobilisation.
  • Improve the sanitation of public beaches in the cities, making the sites attractive for recreation for the public and tourists.
  • Create mass awareness about the detrimental impacts of plastic pollution on the marine ecosystem.
  • Share best practices to maintain plastic-free beaches, especially involving women and youth groups to create livelihood options.

The active participation of locals and government officials in the initiative not only fosters a sense of environmental responsibility but also empowers communities to preserve marine ecosystems, ensuring cleaner seas for present and future generations.

The IGAD Blue Economy project is supported by the Government of Sweden, implemented by IGAD member states, and coordinated at the regional level by the IGAD secretariat’s Blue Economy Unit.

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