Youth-Led Innovations tackling marine plastic waste at Kenya’s coastal region

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By Murimi Gitari, May 16, 2024, Mombasa Plastics Prize Incubator (MPP) is making waves in the fight against marine plastic waste through empowering nine youth-led businesses to transform their innovative prototypes into sustainable enterprises.

In observing the international Plastic Free Day on May 25th, the MPP proudly showcases the achievements of these startups at the ‘MPP Incubator Enterprise Showcase: The Evolution.’ With an estimated 120 metric tons of plastic waste generated daily in Mombasa County, these green entrepreneurs are making a significant impact.

Anna Ghnouly, from USAID Kenya’s Environment Office, emphasizes the agency’s commitment to community-driven solutions, driving positive environmental change through a $2 million investment in plastic collection and recycling.

“USAID’s commitment to initiatives like the Mombasa Plastics Prize reflects its dedication to fostering sustainable development and empowering future generations. It underscores the agency’s recognition of the transformative power of community-driven action in addressing complex global challenges. USAID’s partnership with Kenya is driving positive environmental change. Our investment of over $2 million has helped nearly double the amount of plastic collected and recycled nationwide over the past ten years.”


Since the inception of MMP, the nine enterprises  have set a benchmark for sustainable development in Mombasa and beyond; cumulatively collecting over 23 tonnes of waste and creating a pipeline of 545 green jobs.

Capapo Solutions produces sustainable building materials stronger than concrete from recycled plastic, such as Eco-poles, cabro blocks and panels. Partnerships with local schools to secure raw materials is expected to result in upcycling up to 1.3 tonnes of plastic waste. Clean Tech Collectors is leveraging technology to enhance waste management efficiency, notably through a pioneering app and providing collectors with essential tools and training while Eco-Prints Generation is pioneering the production of eco-friendly 3D printer filaments from recycled plastics, educating 400 students on recycling practices, and has collected over 200 kg of plastic in efforts to curb marine pollution.

Furies Enterprise is raising awareness about marine plastic waste with its unique board game, Bahari Ya Ninja, having sold over 85 games and focusing on creating employment opportunities — particularly for women, with Oceania Pacesetter  creatively addressing marine pollution by repurposing over 200 kg of plastics into artistic and functional items, alongside active community engagement on the issue.

On its part, Plas-Tech is at the forefront of innovation by converting plastic waste into clean cooking gas, with plans for expansion and technological advancements after successfully collecting over 300 kg of plastic while Plastic Taka Creatives, has repurposed 5 tonnes of plastic into eco-friendly yarns and stylish baskets, targeting to generate over 500 jobs each year through a novel buyback recycling system.


The other enterprises are Rafiki Peps, which is refining waste management with a focus on community education and segregated collection systems, enhancing efficiency through partnerships with local entities and Twende Green Ecocycle, that is transforming over 2.3 tonnes of oceanic plastic into high-quality, customizable furniture and aims to create 30 jobs within the next five years.


To celebrate this incredible journey, Deputy Governor H.E. Francis Foleni Thoya, said that the transformative outcomes witnessed are a testament to the hard work and innovation of the youth in Mombasa.

“Their commitment to green entrepreneurship alleviates unemployment and is a big leap towards shaping a sustainable future. The Mombasa County is looking forward to building on the legacy of the Mombasa Plastics Prize through supporting future related initiatives”.


In addition to tackling marine plastic pollution, the MPP Incubator serves as a call to action to continue supporting local initiatives creating and supporting green jobs. This will aid in addressing the issue of youth unemployment, as well as protecting the environment. According to a recent study by ANDE, youth unemployment remains a critical global issue. However, environmentally friendly ventures represent untapped market potential, valued at a staggering $122.7 billion across Kenya.


The weeks leading up to the celebration saw several key activities, including Zero Waste Fest, and the Green Jobs Summit — all thanks to collaborative efforts by the MPP Incubator enterprises, Government entities, ecosystem players and the local community.

To date, the MPP Incubator has been supported through a multi-sectoral partnership approach, funded by USAID, supported by the Mombasa County Government and the Exploratory Programs and Innovation Competitions team in USAID, and delivered by Challenge Works, Close the Gap, Swahilipot Hub, Proportion Global and Brand Spark PR.

Looking ahead, the Mombasa County Government, in collaboration with a group of Kenya-based

innovation experts, is looking to build on the momentum of the program and inspire a new generation of young entrepreneurs. Please get in touch if you would like to be part of this movement.

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