Kenyans have been behaving as if they have a contract with God when it comes to environmental matters. They have shifter gears to ‘overdrive’ to destroy water catchment areas and still expect rains.
Kenya should now be ready to pay the price of decades of consistently abusing our water towers and river basins.
The bleak food and water situation currently being witnessed in the country has seen the country go on a panic mode. There are no rains, hydro water dams are empty and water is being rationed in urban centers.
Government statistics indicate that Kenya’s forest cover has declined from 12 percent at independence to about 1.2 percent today.
Our five water towers; Mt Kenya, Aberdares, Mau, Cherangani and Mt Elgon are choking from effects of human encroachment.
Their destruction has now led to an acute shortage of water for domestic and industrial users.
The severity of the water situation is likely to cause conflicts as people scramble for the scarce commodity. One way in which we can promote peace, is by promoting sustainable management of our resources.
Electricity rationing is expected before September due to declining water levels at our dams.
Such a move would be disastrous for our nascent economy as 70 percent of our electricity generation is hydro-based.
The government should do more to empower communities to conserve the environment. Environmental conservation must be incorporated in all government programmes. Those who have encroached on the water towers must be evicted immediately.
Kenyans should also play a more proactive role in conserving the environment. Those who have land should undertake to plant more trees on their farms. The landless should participate in tree planting exercises in public land.
Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai has on many occasions said that planting a tree is a very doable thing. It’s not complicated, it doesn’t require technology and neither does it require much knowledge.
It doesn’t matter how small the action is, if we all do the little we can, collectively we can make a difference.
We are all in this mess together and it is time we acted. The gods are not to blame on this one.