In September each year, millions of people across the world unite together to tackle the global waste problem by participating in an event known as World Clean Up Day. The event is an opportunity for people to work together to clean up litter and mismanaged waste from our beaches, rivers, forests, and streets. The commitment of volunteers, governments, and civil society organisations is driven by a desire for a cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable world.

Sea Sense works with local groups to clean sea turtle nesting beaches all year round, but an extra special effort is made on World Clean Up Day, as a way of encouraging more people to join the movement. This year, pupils from Micheni Secondary School in Mafia Island and members of a local football team joined Sea Sense to clean Kisho Kikubwa beach in Juani island, which is Tanzania’s most important green turtle nesting beach. Each year, around 250 nests are laid on this beach.

Together, we collected 215kg of non-biodegradable waste from 700m of beach and conducted a waste audit whereby a sample of the waste was analysed to identify the type of waste, the quantity, and the source. The results from the waste audit indicated that between 58 - 89% of the total waste sampled was waste that can be potentially recycled or reused i.e. plastics comprising of PET or HDPE, wood, aluminum, glass, or flip flops. Non-recyclable waste included cigarette butts, pieces of rubber and polystyrene foam, and other plastics such as toothbrushes and pens, pieces of rope and sponges (used for cushions/mattresses) and drinking straws.

In addition to plastics, the nesting beaches also accumulate large quantities of biodegradable waste such as coconut shells, logs, and branches. These also pose an obstacle to nesting turtles because they take several years to biodegrade completely. Sea Sense is exploring the feasibility of using a low technology shredder to deal with this kind of material. We also plan to conduct a short survey to determine whether this shredded material can be used to make cooking briquettes as an alternative source of cooking fuel on the island.