CONSERVATION

Covid-19 pandemic offers time to relieve, save our environment

Tree planting is one positive challenge that people should pick up at personal levels

In Summary

• There’s no doubt that crises such as Covid-19 presents the necessity to enhance relevant, socioeconomic, and environmental policy transformations

• Such times are critical reminders of just how fragile our planet has become. 

A walkway inside the Michuki Memorial Park on Friday, July 17, 2020
A walkway inside the Michuki Memorial Park on Friday, July 17, 2020
Image: MAUREEN KINYANJUI

 

A clean and safe environment is one of the fundamental rights provided by the Constitution. Yet, Kenya still faces a lot of challenges with the management of her natural resources. A very active economy has been one of the major causes of environmental pollution and degradation. However, Covid-19 is providing a tough, yet a critical time of reduced economic socio-economic activities in most parts of the country.

Despite its unprecedented health and economic damages, the coronavirus pandemic is providing us with yet another opportunity to reevaluate ourselves and our role in keeping our environment safe, clean and sustainable both for the present and the future generations.

 

There’s no doubt that crises such as Covid-19 presents the necessity to enhance relevant, socioeconomic, and environmental policy transformations relevant for survival in the 21st century. Moreover, such times are critical reminders of just how fragile our planet has become. 

At the community level, I believe the stay at home and increased quarantine advisories are an opportunity for us ease the pressure on our public places, more so the beaches and parks, which is essential in reducing the amount of waste disposal in such places. During this time, the government should put in place strict regulations to ensure that people keep off these places are left to regain their natural state. Such an opportunity would enhance the reemergence of some endangered species of both plants and animals due to reduced human interference.

Increased social isolation would also reduce the use of disposable, yet non-biodegradable materials such as glasses and plastic waste which are by far the largest contributors to soil pollution and land degradation in the country. During this time, when major factories are also downscaling their operation, such organisations should consider sustainable waste disposal approaches other than river discharge which immensely contributes to water pollution in rivers and lakes across the nation.

More importantly, this is a critical time for the many people who have been relieved of their duties or given time off work to consider other environmentally gainful activities before we hopefully get back to the normal. Tree planting is one positive challenge that people should pick up at personal levels, especially, those spending this isolation period in the villages. Trees, are an essential influencer of rainfall distribution and plays a special role in air purification.

During this pandemic, I urge Kenyans to plant at least three trees as a sign that despite the negative effects if Covid-19, we are sensitive nation cognisant of the even worse threats of a changing climate.

 Ochola K’ochola

Kisumu County