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THREAT TO ECOSYSTEM'

Lobby wants Kisumu restrained from activity on wetlands

County accused of not engaging stakeholders including Nema and WRA

In Summary

• Magnum Environmental Network wants county, golf club to restore wetland to its former state.

• Lobby warns that residents will be exposed to raw sewage.

Fishermen on a fishing expedition in Lake Victoria
SAVE THE FISH: Fishermen on a fishing expedition in Lake Victoria
Image: MAURICE ALAL

The Kisumu county government and Nyanza Golf Club have been accused of reclaiming the wetland at the mouth of River Kisat without convening a public participation forum. 

Last week, lobby group Magnum Environmental Network asked the environment court to permanently restrain the two from engaging in any activity harmful to the riparian wetlands around Lake Victoria. 

The county plans to build lakefront development projects targeting the hospitality industry. 

Magnum chairman Michael Nyanguti said wetland reclamation is untenable in law without wide stakeholders' involvement. The stakeholders include the National Environmental Management Authority and the Water Resource Authority.

“An environmental impact assessment has not been carried out and no licence has been issued by Nema and the National Construction Authority as required by law for a project of this magnitude," Nyanguti said.  

The lobbyist wants the court to issue a restoration order directing the respondents to restore the wetland to its original status. He also wants them to vacate the wetland and cease any activity that may be harmful to the ecosystem.

He says the respondents had threatened and violated the Constitution by announcing that they had agreed to carry out development in the lakefront and proceeded to reclaim the lake riparian wetland without following laid down procedures. 

The respondents' action, if allowed to continue, will set a bad precedent that will expose the wetlands to total destruction, argues Nyanguti. 

He says the wetland removes heavy metal substances from the sewerage and municipal runoff water and "the reclamation will eliminate this function thus exposing residents and fish to heavy metal contamination and health consequences".

“The residents of Kisumu city will be exposed to the danger of sewerage waste being drifted by water current to the Kisumu Water and Sewerage Company intake point at Hippo Point, with resultant contamination and poor quality drinking water."

Should the wetland be claimed, the lobbyist says, the fish stock will dimish. This will result in the fishermen losing their source of livelihood. 

The court ordered that an application be served for an inter-parties hearing on a date yet to be fixed as the judge is away. 

Edited by R.Wamochie