County to safeguard wetlands in 100 days; Deputy Governor Philomena Kapkory
The county government has issued a three-month ultimatum to people who have encroached on riparian lands to vacate. Aside from other conservation measures, this will pave the way for the restoration of the wetlands.
Speaking at the Wiyeta bridge in Sinyereri ward during celebrations to mark World Wetland Day, Deputy governor Philomena Kapkory said the county government has begun the process of restoring degraded wetlands.
She pointed out that surveyors would be deployed in the next three weeks to map waterways and reserves along river banks across the county. After this, they will erect beacons to mark the boundaries.
Mrs. Kapkory said it would be unlawful for any person to cultivate on riparian lands. She added that even more strict laws would be enacted in the near future to ensure that water catchment areas are well protected.
Observing that climate change is a real problem that most nations are attempting to combat, Mrs. Kapkory stressed the importance of conserving the environment. She stated that its opposite was even more disastrous.
The deputy governor noted that the rate at which the environment and wetlands in particular were being degraded was alarming and needed quick intervention measures.
“If we continue degrading the environment at this rate, there is no need for us to continue having children for there would be no place for them on this earth,” she said.
She observed that it would take over 100 years to restore the degraded environment should stakeholders take long to jump into action to save the otherwise rapidly degrading environment.
County Commissioner Rioba Mbogai expressed concern over the high rate at which wetlands in the county had been degraded. He pledged to ensure trees are planted as a restoration measure.
Mr. Rioba said he would take a front lead in spearheading President William Ruto’s initiative to plant 15 billion trees in 10 years and assured of his commitment to work with the county government and like-minded organizations in realizing this.
Water, Environment, and Natural Resources County Executive Patrick Gacheru told those who have wetlands along the Kipsaina and Sinyereri rivers to harvest their short-seasoned crops within the next three months.
Providing for the installation of beacons on all riverbanks in the county, she called upon those who had encroached to vacate without undue resistance. She stated that there would be no tolerance once the deadline had passed.
The sentiments were reiterated by the department Chief Officer Dorothy Nyukuri who was dismayed by the wanton degradation of the Saiwa wetland.
Saiwa wetland is home to the endangered Sitatunga antelope species and also forms part of Saiwa National Park, which is the smallest in the country.
There were a number of participants in the event including the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA), youth groups, and community-based organizations, in addition to members of the affected community.