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Experts advocate for environmental conservation

Environment experts now appeal to both the National and County governments to focus more on conservation approaches that can help in achieving sustainable food security, energy, sanitation and water resources.

They want the state and the devolved governments to work with known environmental bodies and friendly nations to initiate and implement programmes that can improve the current country environment status by addressing the adverse challenges on climate changes.

Dr. Paul Sewe, one of the environment experts, says it is high time the State and County leaderships directed much of their resources towards implementing programmes aimed at assisting the country mitigate the impact of the global changes that are negatively affecting the environment in many parts of the country, leading to drought, reduced food production, lack of clean water and rise in diseases.

Dr. Sewe spoke while leading a team of environmental experts on a mission to assess the environmental degradation in Nyatike Sub-County Tuesday.

In the team was also Prof. Mildred Wandiga from the Global International for Environmental Sustainability Unit, who said Kenya can benefit from programmes such as those previously implemented under the Lake Victoria Environment Management Programme (LAVEMP).

The programmes, although now scaled down, aimed at enabling the Lake region communities to meet their goals in food demands following the application of new farming techniques. This put Kenya among 14 countries in the world in which the model-inter weaving of the impact of climate changes took place in the 20th century.

Through the LAVEMP efforts, farmers were trained on how to protect water catchment areas, increase forest cover and how to use new techniques that prevent soil erosion by applying the correct land tilling methods on sloppy landscapes.

“This country has qualified experts to oversee the implementation of good environmental programmes to ensure sustainable food, clean water, energy and sanitation resources in long term practices,” said Dr. Sewe.

The experts expressed concern that communities in many African countries suffer the dire effects of poor environmental management because of lack of information to remedy the destruction inflicted by human beings’ activities.

As a result, they go through a cycle of endless poverty and eventually threaten their existence in their respective areas, added Prof. Wandiga.

Prof. Wandiga raised an alarm over accelerated deforestation that was occurring in the country and particularly in Nyanza and Transmara regions.

“There is increased destruction of our forests in these areas and if not checked urgently, it would cause far-reaching effects to the surrounding community and other dependents,” she said.

There was concern that trees were being harvested indiscriminately but the replacement pace was negligible leading to reduced forest cover and gaping gulleys on the local landscape.

Further, the team regretted state of high pollution happening, particularly on Rivers Migori and Kuja that traverses the region and the lifeline of the local population.

The two rivers, they noted, were in an awful state, due to pollution, over obstruction and serious water degradation due to poor farming methods being undertaken along its banks.

The team suggested that a compensation programme should be initiated for upstream farmers to help improve water quality to downstream users, courtesy of a Water Resources Trust Fund.

By George Agimba

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