January 26, 2023 (DJIBOUTI, Djibouti): The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), alongside Djibouti Blue Economy Sectors representative experts, concluded a four-day field mission on plastic waste management along all coastal cities of Djibouti.
The four-day field mission commissioned by His Excellency the IGAD Executive Secretary, Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu, is a pilot project to collar necessary interventions in managing marine plastic pollution along coastal cities in the IGAD region.
The field team, led by the Director of Agriculture and Environment, Mr. Daher Elmi, and Djibouti Government Officials, made their first stop in Obock City, Nothern Djibouti. The Deputy Prefect of Obock, Mr. Ali Maki, welcomed the delegation and guided the team to a plastic recycling centre, La Fabrick, where residents recast plastic waste to bricks and paving blocks.
On day two of the mission, the team traveled into the coastal villages of Kalaf and Sagalou in the District of Tadjourah to understand how communities in these areas manage plastic waste produced from within and those pushed off the sea as debris.
During the visit, IGAD’s Sustainable Environment Protection Programme Manager, Dr. Eshete Dejene, added, “It is exciting to see how women actively manage plastic waste in the coastal areas. They play a crucial role in the beach and seaside town cleaning exercises. An inclusive approach is therefore mandatory when designing plastic waste solutions.”
To have a comprehensive look into the effects of plastic waste on marine life, the team visited a local fishermen association in Arta Beach, Djibouti, to learn the different levels of plastic waste and solutions employed by fishermen in the area.
Abdou, a fisherman, and president of the Arta Fishers Association, explained, “Plastic marine debris can include larger items, such as lost or discarded fishing gear. In our area, we educate fishermen on plastic waste management to avoid incidences of discarded fishing gear tampering with the fish habitat.”
The four-Day mission came to an end with a visit to Douda Beach, South of Djibouti City, where the team of experts met the beach Manager Mrs. Moumina who has planted about 6 acres of mangrove trees to restore the beach’s biodiversity; thus providing natural infrastructure and protection to the nearby population areas by preventing erosion and absorbing storm surge impacts during extreme weather events.
In his closing remarks at the end of the mission, IGAD Director of Agriculture and Environment, Daher Elmi, said, “Plastic pollution threatens food safety and quality, human health, coastal tourism, and contributes to climate change. There is an urgent need to explore new and existing legally binding agreements to address marine plastic pollution.”