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Ministry calls organizations, individuals to adopt and restore wetlands

The Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Forestry is calling upon various groups and organisations both public and private to adopt and conserve degraded wetlands.

Cabinet Secretary Soipan Tuya, wants civil societies, government agencies and the community to actively participate in restoring wetlands with the purpose of improving environmental conservation.

Tuya in a speech read on her behalf by the Ministry’s Administrative Secretary John Elung’ata during the launch of wetlands restoration campaign in Murang’a County held at Wairuri wetlands said the ministry has come up with an initiative ‘Adopt- a -wetland initiative’ with the objective to enhance restoration of degraded wetlands.\

“This is an initiative where a stakeholder interested in being a lead champion in conservation of a certain wetland will be expected to take the lead in mobilizing other stakeholders to plan and implement activities that enhance the ecological integrity and sustainability use of the wetland,” said Tuya.

The CS conveyed that the event saw the planting of over 3000 seedlings under the newly conceived ‘Adopt-a-wetland initiative’ which seeks to catalyze the participation of various stakeholders in enhancing wetland conservation.

“The launch is part of the ongoing Government’s efforts to plant 15 billion trees by 2032 and restore and conserve wetlands and their associated catchments,” she said.

The CS observed that wetlands are, however, perhaps the most threatened ecosystems in Kenya because they have been targeted for conversion to agriculture and settlement over the past five decades or so, partially due to lack of recognition of their critical functions and values.

“In an effort to address some of the threats faced by the Wairuri wetland, in 2021, the area was gazetted as a wetland conservation area through legal notice No. 206 under the Water Act 2016,” she said.

The CS commended National Environmental Complaints Committee (NECC) for adopting Wairuri wetland and embarking on a journey to restore and conserve the wetland jointly with other stakeholders.

The NECC Secretary Mary Njogu said the adoption of the wetland is set to enhance sustainable management adding they will collaborate with key stakeholders, including the Kenya Forest Service, NEMA, County Government of Murang’a, and the local community to ensure the success of the conservation efforts.

Njogu reiterated that water bodies are being contaminated thus leading to numerous diseases and it’s essential for every person to take the lead in conserving the ecosystem for posterity.

She added that growing trees will play a key role in purifying our waters calling the public to promptly report any instances of environmental degradation to the Committee for amicable solutions.

On his part, Isaac Elmi, the Deputy Director, Ecosystem Management, representing Director General NEMA, urged NECC to take the lead and collaborate with relevant institutions to guarantee the restoration and conservation of the wetland.

Murang’a County forest conservator Eunice Njoroge said they are targeting to attain 30 percent tree cover and 10 percent forest cover within a period of one year.

“Currently the county tree cover stands at 27.8 percent and forest cover at about 8 percent. Murang’a has the potential to attain more than 36 percent tree cover,” added Njoroge.

She further noted Murang’a County is supposed to plant a total of 134 million seedlings as part of the President’s directive on planting 15 billion trees by 2032.

Murang’a County Director of Nema Sarah Waruo said they will protect all wetlands in the county from being encroached by people.

“Nema will spearhead fencing of Wairuri wetland which has been encroached. The wetland is a source of water for some local rivers and preserving it is supporting livelihoods to people living downstream of the rivers emanating from here,” She noted.

By Anita Omwenga

 

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