By Shirley Wandera (7/6/2023)

The Mombasa Ocean Festival 2023 commenced today ushering the start of a five-day series of different events focusing on ocean conservation.

Kicking off the festivities, an exhibition of recycled ocean-recycled art has been launched at Alliance Française, Mombasa ahead of the World International Ocean Day tomorrow.

Chairman Kenya Maritime Authority

“If we do not do anything by 2050, oceans will carry more plastic weight than the fish,” said Lucas Malcor, the director of Alliance Française, Mombasa.

The festival’s central objective is to leverage the combined power of art, entertainment, and science to connect people and engage them in behavior that positively impacts the ocean and the environment.

“One of the problems we are facing in Mombasa is plastic waste, and growing up I have always wanted to take part in cleaning the environment,” said Yonah Mudibo, an artist who uses plastics like bottle tops to create recycled artwork.

Artwork on display at the Mombasa Ocean Festival at Alliance Francaise

The Mombasa Ocean Festival 2023 aims to make a significant impact in raising awareness and inspiring collective action to protect marine ecosystems with a strong focus on engaging communities in ocean conservation.

Mr. Hamisi Mwaguya, the chairperson of Kenya Maritime Authority, urged people to recognize the importance of ocean conservation.

“Let us work together to ensure we invite more people to see the importance of ocean conservation. If you protect the ocean, the ocean will protect us. We need to clean our beaches and reduce the amount of plastic we take into the water. Everybody has a role to play,” said Mr. Mwaguya.

Mr. Mwaguya further emphasized the importance of sustainable practices by encouraging the adoption of reusable bottles as an alternative to disposable plastic water bottles.

 “We have a policy we are introducing at Kenya Maritime Authority. Every office has a plastic water bottle but from next year we are changing to glass. I would encourage everyone to stop using plastic water bottles and embrace the adoption of reusable bottles,” he added.

Ocean Artwork Mural made from waste by Yonna Mudibo

The Principal research scientist at Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute highlighted the need to harness art’s influence to raise awareness and instigate action in protecting and sustaining marine ecosystems.

 “Art is powerful and should be used to preserve our ocean,” said Dr. Peter Odote.

The festival will conclude on the 10th of June 2023, with an ocean fiesta, which will feature a host of family-friendly activities with an ocean theme.