Environmentalists Call For Wetlands Conservation

Homa Bay environmentalists have urged the government to conserve wetlands to combat climate change's effects. The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) County Director, Nyandoro Josiah encouraged the public to work collectively so as to peg the wetlands for preservation. Nyandoro urged stakeholders to collaborate to protect wetlands, which serve as a livelihood for flora and fauna, despite their ideal ownership by the Water Resource Authority. Speaking during an event within Homa Bay town, he said pollution, human encroachment and wildfires are the major threats to the wetlands in the county, since it has about 60 wetlands, with only three of them having been gazetted. Simbi Nyaima, one of the wetlands in Homa Bay was gazetted as a bad sanctuary in 1997 as a result of encroachment, shrinking it from the gazetted 48 hectares to 24, an issue that Nyandoro said needs attention. In response to the wetlands' gazettement, he noted that in collaboration with the ministry of environment, the governmen t is pegging and recommending for the gazettement of all wetlands. Additionally, NEMA has partnered with county, national, and Kenya Airport Authority (KAA) to preserve wetlands in the region. The partnership will ensure about 50,000 trees are planted in schools and prisons in the county to enhance environmental sustainability. Nyandoro was in the company of Climatologist Clifford Omondi, KAA Manager Angela Tilitei and Homa Bay County Chief Officer for Environment Donald Ogweno. Tilitei who confirmed this partnership said the tree-planting strategy is to ensure 30% forest coverage by the year 2030. ''It is not just about planting trees, it's actually growing trees,'' she added. Nyandoro's sentiments were echoed by Ogweno who reiterated the significance of wetlands conservation for reproduction of fish. He said that Homabay has 80% of the shoreline of Lake Victoria and the breeding grounds for fish are the wetlands. 'We must work hard to preserve them because the people of Homabay are heavily dependent on fishing as a source of their livelihood,'' he added. The county government is addressing the lake shore's heavy plastic and solid waste to create a waterfront. On the other hand, Omondi who is also a member of the Environment Institute of Kenya encouraged the people to take care of trees as per the Ramsar Convention to help in mitigating the impacts of climate change. The climatologist emphasized the crucial role wetlands play in mitigating the effects of climate change. He advocated for the establishment of wetlands through gazettement to guarantee their protection. Source: Kenya News Agency