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January 19, 2019

Waste, sea reclamation kill Mombasa mangroves, destroy forests

Kibarani dump site in Mombasa on December 29,2016.Photo / JOHN CHESOLI
Kibarani dump site in Mombasa on December 29,2016.Photo / JOHN CHESOLI

An environmental lobby group has raised serious concerns about the continuous degradation of Makupa and Tudor Creeks in Mombasa County.

The Kibarani dumping site and the systematic reclamation of sea at the Makupa Creek are environmental injustices committed by county government and developers, according to Big Ship, a membership organization in Mangrove conservancy.

Mangroves, which covers 3,771ha are the only gazetted forests in Mombasa County.

However, 1,850 ha of these forests have been destroyed representing 49.1 per cent.

Bosco Juma, the director of the Big Ship CBO in Mikindani area, said unless action is taken now Mombasa will lose its mangrove forest cover in the near future.

“The illegal dumping site at Kibarani is one of the biggest problems in the Makupa Creek. Solid waste and leachate dumped into the ocean negatively affects the growth of mangroves,” said Juma.

Speaking to Journalists on Saturday at a section of Makupa Creek, where they have replanted over 60,000 new mangrove seedlings after they were destroyed, Juma said the dumpsite should be relocated.

“There is low primary productivity due to reduced water clarity by the solid wastes and low dissolved oxygen caused by chemical compounds in the water,” he said.

According to Juma, it is even of more concern that fishing activities take place in the area with such high levels of chemical and solid waste that is managed through burning.

“This could pose a health risk to human consuming such fish through bio magnification and bio-accumulation of the chemical substance,” he said.

The organization launched an 18-page report on the degradation of mangrove forest in Mombasa, asking the stakeholders involved to intervene.

The destruction of mangrove forest and the marine ecosystem at large deteriorates the fishing industry which is one of the major economic activities for the Mombasa locals.

Illegal logging of mangroves has also become is another serious challenge facing conservationists.

In the last one decade, the loss of mangrove has been reported to exceed 80 per cent.

Tudor Creek is reported as the most degraded with a cover loss of 86.9 per cent between 1992 and 2009, said Juma.

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