Press Release – The Netherlands ‘Building the Global Momentum on Marine Plastics Litter’ at the Blue Economy Conference 2018 – 27 November 2018

‘The Netherlands is a maritime nation with a vested interest in clean oceans and stands ready to partner with Kenya in its pledge to embrace Blue Economy principles.’ H.E. Frans Makken, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Kenya

Today, the Netherlands Embassy in Kenya is co-organizing an innovative side event on ‘Building the Global Momentum on Marine Plastics Litter’ on the occasion the Blue Economy Conference held in Nairobi. Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Forestry Hon. Keriako Tobiko, Canadian Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Hon. Jonathan Wilkinson, business representatives and Dutch creative thinkers came together to share sustainable practices in dealing with the increase of plastic litter in our oceans. Implementing innovative solutions to this problem is key as marine litter does not only pose a direct threat to the biodiversity of our oceans, but is also increasingly becoming a major public health concern in many countries.

For this event, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Kenya has invited Merijn Tinga, the ‘Plastic Soup Surfer’ who fights plastic pollution using his surfboard as a weapon. His campaigns combine plastic pollution awareness with creativity, innovation and a call for action. His campaign on promoting deposits on small plastic bottles resulted in new policy in the Netherlands. He is currently working on a new documentary about the role plastic plays in our society and is inspired by his visit to Kenya: ‘Kenya is a pioneer in banning single-use plastic bags and is thereby preventing these bags from polluting our oceans. Kenia is rethinking the role plastics play in society, and is open to deposit schemes and I believe there is room for more cooperation between my country, the Netherlands, and Kenya so we can learn from each other’s experiences’.

The management of marine plastics is an important topic to the Netherlands. By 2050, the Netherlands aims to have an economy that will run completely on reusable raw materials. To realize that, various government, business and non-governmental organizations have signed a deal which includes all programs aimed at handling raw materials more efficiently. The Dutch government is transitioning to a circular economy that will not only benefit the climate, but also generate income and jobs. This will ensure that there is no waste as products are reused as much as possible. The Netherlands also invest in smart technologies for water recycling and the Netherlands and Dutch businesses have proven to be a partner to Kenya in promoting sustainable water solutions.  

For instance, today, the Ambassador of the Netherlands to Kenya, H.E. Frans Makken officially opened Maji Water Storage Ltd. Maji Water Storage ltd. based in Nairobi is a genuine Kenyan-Dutch joint venture between Irrico International (Kenyan) and Genap BV (Dutch) and is one of the first of its kind in the water sector in Kenya. Maji Water Storage Ltd manufactures steel corrugated bolted tanks in combination with the production of waterproof linings with the aim of providing affordable safe drinking and irrigation water for health and food security anywhere and everywhere for the people of Kenya.

 In case of inquiries, feel free to contact Kirsten Hommes (Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands): kirsten.hommes@minbuza.nl