The world wetlands day was marked in Kenya at the Lake Nakuru National Park with calls for Kenyans to take responsibility of their environment and stop destroying the very essential wetlands. KFS also joined in the festivities whose theme was ‘forests, water and wetlands’ by putting up an exhibition at the site to explain to the public the relationship between forests and wetlands.
The event was also meant to mark the 40th anniversary of the Ramsar Convention which declared wetlands as important biodiversity areas that should be protected. Kenya joined the list of countries which subscribe to the Ramsar treaty in 1990.
In a statement read on his behalf, the Minister of Enviroment and Mineral Resources Hon. John Michuki urged Kenyans to conserve their wetlands saying that the ministry was in the process of carrying out an inventory of all wetlands in the country with a view to protecting them. He said the government was also in the process of having more sites classified as Ramsar sites on top of the five including Lake Nakuru already classified as such. On his part the Permanent Secretary in the same Ministry who was representing the Minister, Mr. Ali Mohamed, urged Kenyans to take responsibility in environmental conservation.
The Permanent Secretary also informed that public that the ministry was finalisng a cabinet memorandum that will be used to advice people against planting Eucalyptus in wetlands and riparian areas. He added that his ministry is working with other government agencies to enforce the regulations on protection of riparian areas.
The chairman of the NEMA Board of Directors Hon. Francis Ole Kaparo while speaking at the event reminded the participants that a clean environment was now consititutional requirement. He called on everyone to join hands in cleaning up the environment taking issue with some NGOs purpoting to be doing environmental work saying the ‘environment cannot be managed from your laptop’.
Report by Leakey Sonkoyo