, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 30 – The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) has warned that if the public does not participate in environmental conservation, wetlands areas in the country are under great threat due to human encroachment.
Speaking during a stakeholders’ panel discussion hosted at the Safaricom headquarters, NEMA Head of Wetlands Stephen Gatua said environmental conservation is a collective responsibility thus the public needs to work together with government agencies.
“Quite a number of wetlands in the country are threatened especially those found in urban areas and public land but we are currently taking measures and coming up with what we call the integrated wetlands manual plan to ensure we identify all the threats,” he said.
On his part, the Chairman of Community for Nature Conservation Patrick Muraguri said majority of people do not understand the role of wetlands and there is need for more forums to create awareness by environmentalists.
“Sometimes we forget the role of wetlands in our lives and of late there has been a lot of encroachment and we all see what happened when structures were being demolished in Nairobi and people were wondering what was all that for… so more people really need to be informed on the importance of wetlands and how to conserve them,” said Muraguri.
The forum themed The Role of Wetlands in Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation, was attended by Safaricom Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Stephen Chege, and Anglican Archbishop Jackson ole Sapit who also called on the public to play their personal role in conserving wetlands.
“We are telling people that far from the perception that wetlands are unproductive and valueless, these ecosystems provide food, water and livelihoods to millions of people around the world, and their conservation is a sustainable solution to climate change,” Chege said.
He added: “We are saying that the private sector, government, and all other stakeholders must put people, and the planet, before profits, and embrace sustainable practices as outlined by the Sustainable Development Goals.”
The forum was held two days before commemoration of the Worlds Wetlands Day on February 2.