Improving waste management to enhance the living heritage environment of the Old Town of Lamu

National Museums of Kenya - Lamu Museum
Published: 25 October 2022
Last edited: 25 October 2022
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Waste disposal has been a key issue at the Lamu World Heritage Site, located on a small remote island with narrow streets and no proper sewerage and waste disposal system as it wasn't needed at the time of construction of the historic town. Due to the lack of proper planning, people settled to disposing waste and effluent into the ocean.

In response, the County Government together with Lamu Museum allocated spots around the town for dumping of solid waste. Sewage systems were developed to channel waste into a main drainage. Additionally, youths were employed to support the daily street clean up. Also, they frequented on community empowerment regarding the importance of keeping the environment clean and on the effects of dumping on the ocean. Likewise, singe use plastic was banned, and fines set up for law breakers.

The flipflopi group designed a boat from plastic waste sailing around the villages to raise awareness on waste disposal as well as buying plastics from locals to recycle it.


East and South Africa
Scale of implementation
Area-wide development
Buildings and facilities
Marine and coastal ecosystems
Urban ecosystem and build environment
Local actors
Marine litter
Outreach & communications
Waste management
World Heritage
Lack of infrastructure
Unemployment / poverty


Lamu, Kenya


  • The project has hugely reduced the threat of indiscriminate dumping of waste in the heritage place and the ocean.
  • Local communities can now enjoy a clean environment and local youths have been provided with employment opportunities.
  • Improvements in the conservation of marine species whose ecosystem is no longer threatened by waste dumping and waste pollution.
  • Improved the experience of tourists and visitors walking around the old town of Lamu.
  • Banning single use plastic has increased community awareness on environmental protection thus reducing plastic waste disposal
  • Buying and selling of plastics to be recycled into different products such as furniture, boats, jewelry, etc., has reduced plastic waste pollution and opened new economic opportunities for the community

Contributed by

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Naima Idris Mohamed National Museums of Kenya-Lamu