Following the fact that over 10 million Kenyans are facing hunger and starvation, many have shifted blame to prolonged drought, crop failure, the recent maize scandal, Global warming and reduced water levels in most of our wetlands.
Drought patterns have changed from the 5 year- pattern to less. We had drought in 2006 and now its here with us. The common man suffers and is always directly affected with the effects of drought, sad enough he is the person who is not aware of the importance of conserving the environment.
Until people fully understand the importance of conserving the environment, drought and famine are here to stay. We have bodies that have the mandate to promote environmental conservation but it seems less is being achieved. One is Nema- National Environment Management authority efforts seem to be thwarted by corrupt officials within the government.
A recent story in The Standard (6th Feb. 2009) revealed that a private developer has defied Nema’s order to stop building villas on Kibarage stream wetland which feeds Nairobi river, yet billions of shillings have been set aside for the cleaning exercise of the river. My question is - why waste the billions, yet someone is destroying the wetland that will feed the river? We do not need rocket science to predict that at some point, the water levels of this river will drop.
The general public ought to be enlightened about the benefits of conserving our wetlands which contribute largely to the amount of rainfall received each year. Although some media houses are trying their best to carry out environmental conservation advocacy, political reporting has outdone conservation stories. The media is also keen on showbiz and talk shows which attract more advertisers at the expense of critical issues. The media ought to understand that an empowered community would bring more money to the media industry through their adverts for various community based conservation projects.
Nairobi Dam had potential to supply water to
Ignorance on the importance of conservation, according to Dominic Kimani (an Ornithologist), has led to grabbing of a dam in South Kinangop, near Njambini town. The dam is now dry. Dominic who visited the area accompanied by a journalist from South Africa recounted how people who claim to own this beautiful dam cultivated large parcels of land that were once covered by the dam. Ecologically, this will affect so many birds especially the palaerctic migrants who come here during winter.
Five years ago, Dominic led a team of volunteers from the National Museums of
This is a clear indicator that residents of Kinangop South will loose both ecologically and economically because these birds could attract tourists who can increase income to this community. At all costs, conservation is of great benefit to the community if embraced.
By Mary Mwendwa
Programmer and Presenter at the Transworld Radio