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Call to restore, protect and utilize wetlands to create wealth

Kericho County Executive (CECM) for Water, Environment, Energy, Forestry and Natural Resources, Rosemary Rop, has called for more proactive steps by all stakeholders in not only restoring and protecting the wetlands, but also creation of jobs and wealth around the wetlands.

Speaking during the commemoration of the World Wetlands Day at the University of Kabianga, Rop urged graduates to specialize in biodiversity and think of ways to creating jobs around wetlands and forests.

She mentioned that wetlands can harbour bamboo trees, which can create a range of goods that can be used by society, adding that the wetlands can also host birds, that people would want to come and see and study.

“We want to provide tourists sites within Kericho, so that people can tour and watch variety of birds being hosted by our wetlands. We are moving beyond protecting the wetlands, we want it to be one an economic foundation for new jobs and new activities within this County.

So we want people to be tour guides, story tellers, and attract people from outside of Kericho to come and enjoy the biodiversity and the beauty of this County,” added Rop.

The County Executive underscored the importance of wetlands which are important for construction materials, food, medicine, pasture, sources of water for domestic and industrial use.

“Ecologically, wetlands harbour diverse habitats, which provide feeding and breeding areas for wildlife, some of which are endangered, vulnerable, threatened and range restricted,” she said.

She urged Chiefs and National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) officers, to help in stopping eucalyptus growing alongside riparian lands, saying people should plant indigenous trees and stop ploughing 30 meters-up, away from water bodies and wetlands.

The CECM warned persons encroaching wetlands, saying they will be dealt with in accordance with the law.

Rop, who led a tree planting exercise, to mark the day, said Forestry training courses at Kabianga University and Londiani Forest College called for enhancement to train students who will be instrumental in wetlands and natural resources restoration and protection in the Country. 

Meanwhile, University of Kabianga Vice Chancellor, Prof. Erick Koech, noted that several wetlands within the County, had been encroached by people making bricks, washing vehicles and draining-off Wetlands, for farming activities. 

Daraja Sita wetland in Kericho-Bomet boarder among other wetlands in the region have been encroached on, thus threatening aquatic life and others who depends on wetlands for survival, and these people need to be brought to book,” reiterated Prof. Koech.

Kenya Forestry Research Institute Officer, Joram Binga, said over 600 trees were planted at the University’s wetlands area, to commemorate the day. 

Other guests who graced the occasion included the Kericho County Director of NEMA Dr. Moses Morentat and the Principal Kenya Forestry College, Elizabeth Wambugu among others.

This year’s theme of the celebrations was “Wetlands and Human Wellbeing,” with the campaign spotlighting on how interconnected wetlands and human life are, with people drawing sustenance, inspiration and resilience from the productive ecosystems.

By Dominic Cheres

 

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