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A call for joint efforts to protect wetlands

Residents of Kikuyu sub-county residing around Ondiri Swamp have been urged to help conserve and safeguard the wetland due to its consistent degradation.

As part of preparations to mark the World Wetlands Day that will be observed on February 2,2022, Kiambu Governor James Nyoro flagged off races and a clean-up exercise in Kikuyu Sub-County, supported by various partners including Friends of Ondiri and the National Government.

Friends of Ondiri are a non-profit organization that takes care of the Ondiri wetland area for the preservation of the Ondiri ecosystem.

Speaking during event that involved racing activities which comprised 3-kilometer race, 5-kilometer race and 10-kilometer races, County Executive for Water, Environment and Natural Resources David Kuria noted the event is meant to sensitize residents of Ondiri swamp on the importance of preserving the swamp which is currently the largest natural swamp in East Africa.

“We are calling upon all stakeholders and more so the people living around the swamp to protect the wetland and to shun activities that are slowly killing these beautiful wetlands,” Kuria said.

“Ondiri swamp is only used as a guiding model since there are numerous wetlands in Kenya which should also be protected by the government as they serve as a conducive ecosystem and create a home for a variety of both flora and fauna,” Kuria added.

Mr David Wakogi, the Founder and Coordinator of Friends of Ondiri Wetlands (FOW) expressed gratitude to public and private entities who have taken up the campaign to spearhead the need for conserving Ondiri Swamp.

“We are grateful to all our partners who helped in organizing this activity we hope to have more similar initiatives to promote conservation of wetlands due to their vantage position in fighting against climate change,” Mr Wakogi said.

National Environment Complaints Committee (NECC) Secretary Dr John Chumo, who was also present at the event reiterated that in order for the Government to attain the 10 per cent targeted forest cover by 2030 both forests and wetlands need to be well conserved and protected.

The NECC Secretary further urged members of parliament (MPs) not to pass proposed amendments of deleting section 34(2) in the Conservation Act (2018).

“As environmentalists we are very concerned with regard to the proposed deleting of the section 34(2) which encompasses the government protecting forests and reserves boundaries from encroachment, because we don’t want to go back where we were 10 years ago… forest cover is significant to human and animal sustenance” Dr Chumo said.

By Jackeline Kidaha and Grace Naishoo

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