The World Wetlands Day 2022 National Celebration was held yesterday at Ondiri Swamp in Kikuyu, Kiambu County, given its importance as the largest swamp in the country and the second largest in world.
World Wetlands Day is celebrated each year on 2 February to raise awareness about wetlands. This day also marks the anniversary of the Convention on Wetlands, which was adopted as an international treaty in 1971.
The theme for this year’s event is, “Wetlands Action for People and Nature,” which highlights the importance of actions to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands for humans and planetary health.
The event that was organised by NEMA was attended by stakeholders from both private and public sectors including the Environment and Forestry Chief Administrative Secretary Mohamed Elmi who was the chief guest
“There is need to come up with policies, acts and even legislations that incorporate clearly defined provisions in the management of wetland resources as the current laws do not originally target wetlands, but dealt on issues related to water management,” stated Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Forestry Mr Keriako Tobiko in a speech read by CAS Elmi.
The CS further explained that these policies will help address numerous other challenges that directly or indirectly impact on wetland resources like encroachment for settlement, agriculture, industrial and infrastructure development by ensuring that the threats are located away from wetlands.
Keriako added that the Ministry and other partners have made efforts to reverse Ondiri swamp degradation and loss by erecting a fence around the swamp
“More than 10,000 seedlings have been planted in the swamp through efforts of Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and NEMA. I am happy to report that the survival rate of the seedling is very impressive,” added Tobiko.
Ondiri swamp covers 34.5 ha with a perimeter of 3.5 km and a depth range of 2 to 3 meters, the swamp is a source to 40 other springs, which provide water to the local community.
The day was also celebrated in other parts of the county.
In Kericho County, the day was celebrated at Kuje Integrated Wetland in Momul Belgut Sub County where County Officer Director of Environment and Natural Resources, Mr Daudi Kitur, called for policies that safeguard the wetlands, noting most related policies focus more on water conservation.
By Grace Naishoo