Kenya’s environmentalists have warned that continued failure to protect wetlands is putting livelihoods of citizens at risk.


“We should have a clear policy to help people living around these zoned areas to conserve instead of destroy them. Wetland areas constitute 90 percent of our resources,” Philip Raburu, a lecturer at Moi University and wetlands coordinator at Victoria Institute of Research for Environmental development in Nyando, Kenya said late Thursday.
Raburu pointed out Lake Victoria as the worst affected as over harvesting of immature fish has resulted to endangering certain species.
“Alternative sources of livelihood such as pond fish farming, bee keeping, horticulture farming and tree planting can help communities living around such regions to conserve them,” said Professor Owuor Okeyo, an environmentalist based in Kisumu, Western Kenya.
Currently, wetland regions across the country are being managed by the ministry of wildlife.
“Since this is a national government function, it should ensure that there is a clear policy on the boundary between wetlands and land use to avert the current trend that has seen many encroachments,” Okeyo said.
He said part of the wetland areas are located on the locals’ parcel of lands hence it becomes difficult to enforce conservation measures.
He said the release of effluents into Lake Victoria by agrochemical industries has resulted to infestation of water hyacinth. The water hyacinth menace has led to increased inflow of silt and affected the fish species and water quality.
He noted that demand for land use is threatening the growth of forests in various parts of Kenya.
According to statistics, the forestry sector mainly through deforestation and forest degradation, accounts about 17 percent of global greenhouse emissions, larger than the entire global transport sector.
Charles Ochieng, Nyando-Kenya Zone Forest Officer said the low forest cover of 2 percent in the area as opposed to the national figure of 7 percent and global expectation of 10 percent should be a major concern to everyone. Enditem

Source: Xinhua


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