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Concern raised over encroachment of wetlands in Nandi

National Environmental Complaints Committee (NECC) has vowed to stop encroachment of wetlands in Nandi County saying plans are underway to rehabilitate the already destroyed wetlands.

NECC Chairman Dr. Lumumba Nyaberi said that the County has very nice wetlands making Nandi a very important region as far as wetland conservation is concerned.

Speaking during the environmental stakeholders meeting at the County Headquarters, Dr. Nyaberi said that NECC has partnered with the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA), Kenya Forest Service and other government departments and ministries to provide Law for the enforcement and ways to address the issues of environmental degradation.

“We need to take care of our environment and leave it a better place than we found it for the purpose of prosperity and for each one of us to enjoy the environment. Therefore, NECC has facilitated the planting of over 50,000 trees around the county,” said Dr. Nyaberi.

Nyaberi further said they have received complaints over environment degradation saying Nandi used to receive rainfall for almost three quarters of the year but the rainfall pattern has changed and become unpredictable due to climate change.

“The water levels in the County have decreased at an alarming rate. For instance, one could get borehole water at 50 feet but now we need the aid of drilling rigs which is costly,” he noted

Speaking at the same function, Nandi County Director of Environment Mr Simon Tonui said the County has two major wetlands which are Kibirong and King’wal where a lot of encroachment has been taking place.

Tonui said that there have been ownership claims with King’wal Wetland therefore people have been carrying out farming activities and degrading the wetland.

“This wetland whose stretch is from Moi University to the South Nandi Forest is a home to a rare Sitatunga antelope. In the year 2000 – 2010 there were around 300 Sitatungas but nowadays they are endangered because dogs are freely marauding around the Wetland attacking and killing the animals because of poor fencing,” said Tonui

He added that there has been a lot of sand harvesting in the rivers and cattle grazing in the swamps due to poor fencing which has led to degradation and water pollution.

NECC has partnered with the County Government to ensure rehabilitation and expansion of key tree planting projects to save the wetlands from encroachment and to enforce law against those encroaching and carrying out farming activities in the wetlands.

They were also in agreement to facilitate income generating activities like bee keeping around the wetlands to avert people from carrying out farming activities.

By Erickson Matika

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