Preparations for this year’s World Wetlands Day celebrations began in earnest Saturday with stakeholders collecting plastic bottles and other trash at the Sabaki Estuary in Kilifi County.
Led by the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) and the Kilifi County Government, the stakeholders combed the estuary in Sabaki Sub-County and collected a lorry full of plastic bottles that had been washed down from upcountry by the River Sabaki.
NEMA chairman John Konchella warned Kenyans against polluting the environment, noting that the environment watchdog would take stern action against polluters in accordance with the Environmental Management and Coordination Act (EMCA).
He called on county governments and National Government Administrative Officers (NGAO) to be on the lookout and arrest and charge offenders with a view to keeping the environment clean.
NEMA will take decisive measure to ensure that those polluting the environment are arrested and we urge for cooperation from the county governments and the Ministry of Interior so that those polluting the environment are arrested and prosecuted,” he said.
Mr. Konchella said there was need to conserve the Sabaki Estuary, saying it was very important with various marine fauna and flora including thousands of flamingos that could be used for tourism.
Mr. Konchella was impressed by the thousands of flamingos flocking the estuary and urged the Ministry of Tourism to market the place as a tourist attraction site.
Kilifi County Chief Officer for Environment Mariam Jenneby called on Kenyans and tourists visiting beaches to stop irresponsible dumping of plastic bottles.
“The plastic bottles we have collected today were not brought by animals but by human beings. We are humbly urging our fellow human beings, whether Kenyans or tourists, to ensure that you dump plastic bottles in designated collection points,” she said.
She urged NEMA to be more proactive and ensure those who dump trash irresponsibly are punished as a lesson to others.
Mr. Munene Kairu from the Kenya Wildlife Service said plastics were dangerous to marine life and called on people visiting the beaches to ensure they do not dump plastic bottles there.
“Plastics affected KWS adversely because when they reach the ocean, they destroy corals, turtles and even fish. I urge that we have frequent cleaning of the beaches and other wetlands so as to conserve marine life,” she said.
Malindi Assistant County Commissioner John Kipswa called on the Ministry of Tourism to start marketing the Sabaki estuary as a tourist site due to the thousands of flamingos that have found a sanctuary in the area.
The national celebrations to mark the World Wetland Day will be held at the estuary on Tuesday during which Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko is expected to be the Chief Guest.
The stakeholders were expected to carry out a mangrove tree planting exercise at the Mida Creek Sunday and will be joined by CS Tobiko to plant mangroves at the Sabaki Estuary on Monday before the national celebrations at the same venue on Tuesday.
by Emmanuel Masha