Wednesday October 11, 2023
Somali youth have launched a campaign against the littering of plastic waste on the beaches of the capital, Mogadishu, infusing vitality into marine ecosystems that support livelihoods.
This initiative for environmental protection began at Mogadishu’s Liido beach in the Abdiaziz district two years ago. It started with only six volunteers, but the campaign has now grown, attracting thousands of volunteers from universities and community-based organizations.
Abdiwahab Sudi Nihaye, the assistant team leader, said: “We started cleaning the waste, especially the plastic, at the beachfront with only six volunteers. We are committed to realizing our dream of seeing clean and safe beaches as part of environmental protection. The timing was also challenging because we carry out such activities early every Friday morning.”
Nihaye explained that the objective is to reduce threats related to plastic pollution, which harms not only visitors, youths, swimmers, and businesswomen at the beaches but also sea creatures.
“Liido beach is visited by thousands of local people and foreign tourists as one of the most beautiful tourist destinations. They tour by boats, swim, play football, and come for fun. Therefore, we are working on securing their safety by cleaning plastic and anything that poses a threat to human life. Our communication is open, and we welcome volunteers to join our community,” Nihaye said.
Suweydo Mohamed Abdi, 25, is a female environmental activist who collaborates with the youth in awareness campaigns and practical beach-cleaning activities. She explains the importance of such campaigns to communities and marine life, saying “We must all stand up to protect our environment, fight plastic pollution, and clean up all harmful waste and garbage near our beautiful beaches. If we do not work hard on this, we will not be able to extract resources like fish from the sea, as plastic pollution can quickly kill them.”
Reham Ibrahim Anshur, 24, a female volunteer working with people with special needs, learned about the beach clean-up campaign through social media and felt inspired to offer support. She said: “Being people with special needs does not mean that we cannot contribute to our country. This is a must. I am very happy to participate in this meaningful activity. We need peace, a green, and safe environment for our country.”
Jeylani Ali Hussein, a 56-year-old disabled individual, shared that he was motivated to clean the beaches as part of his contribution to improving the health of marine ecosystems that provide livelihoods to millions of Mogadishu residents.
These environmental campaigns hold great significance for Somalia, which faces significant challenges related to climate change, droughts and violent extremism. Given concerns about possible El Nino rains and storms that can cause extensive damage to marine life, campaigns like these are crucial, as highlighted by the Somali government and the United Nations agencies.