- Wetlands are areas where water covers the soil or is present either at or near the surface of the soil all year or for varying periods of time during the year.
- The government normally allocates funds for conserving wetlands after they are gazetted.
Environment stakeholders in Homa Bay have called on the residents to join hands in conserving wetlands to combat the adverse impacts of climate change.
They argued that wetlands are the source of livelihoods for flora and fauna.
Wetlands are areas where water covers the soil or is present either at or near the surface of the soil all year or for varying periods of time during the year.
Homa Bay director of Nema Josiah Nyandoro, Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) General Manager for Marketing Angela Tilitei, climatologist Clifford Omondi, and county Chief Officer for Environment Donald Ogweno said there is a need for concerted efforts in protecting wetlands.
Nyandoro expressed concerns over the destruction of wetlands by human activities in the county.
“Let all agencies, both in the public and private sectors, as well as individuals, join hands in conserving wetlands. They are the source of livelihoods for both flora and fauna,” Nyandoro said.
Speaking at Tom Mboya University during a celebration to mark World Wetlands Day, Nyandoro said many wetlands in Homa Bay are currently under threat.
Some of the three human activities that impede the wellbeing of the 60 wetlands available in the county of Homa Bay are pollution, wildfires, and encroachment.
The director urged various agencies in the county to join efforts in conserving the wetlands.
He argued that conserving the wetlands will enable future generations to live in a desirable environment.
“The future of life depends on how we treat our environment today. Let us embrace the interagency approach to conservation to help future generations,” he said.
Omondi argued that conserving the wetlands will help to mitigate the adversity of climate change, adding that there is a nexus between wetlands and climate change.
“Wetlands are a source of trees that help reduce the adversity of climate change. We must conserve them because this will help us mitigate the negative impact of climate change,” Omondi said.
He called for the gazettement of wetlands in the county to enable the allocation of funds for conserving them.
“Homa Bay has 60 wetlands, but only three are gazetted. We should have policies to ensure all the wetlands are gazetted to enhance their protection,” Omondi said.
The government normally allocates funds for conserving wetlands after they are gazetted.
Ogweno said wetlands are significant for reproduction of fish and other aquatic lives in the county.
“Fish reproduce in the wetlands hence their conservation is important,” Ogweno said.
He said Homa Bay government was in a process of gazetting some wetlands.
“The county government is also cleaning water fronts in Lake Victoria to reduce pollution. This involves removing plastic and solid waste from the lake,” he said.
Tilitei said the KAA is partnering with Nema, the county, and national governments to promote environmental conservation in the area.
She said they had started a project of planting 50,000 tree seedlings in the county through the partnership.
“We are partnering to promote forestry in this county. The trees are going to be grown in schools, prisons, and other public places,” Tilitei said.