wetlands

2nd February, The day we commemorate the Signing of the Ramsar Convention

I commemorate this day when the Ramsar Convention was signed by publishing this article meant to create awareness to you reading this. I do hope you will share this article once you are done. Remember sharing is caring….

Moving forward, this is a day when different countries formed pillars to which they were to commit to in relation to the Wetland ecosystem. The mission of the Ramsar convection was and is conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local and national actions as well as international cooperation, as a contribution towards achieving sustainable development throughout the world.

 

What really is a wetland?

The name clearly explains itself (am I making sense here?? I hope I am…haha) but I will do the google work for those who don’t know what a wetland is. A wetland is a low-lying area of land covered by water and is long enough to support aquatic plants and wildlife for part of their life cycle. Wetlands areas can be permanently or seasonally flooded by water. In the seasonal wetlands, they can dry up completely during the dry season and provide a refuge for species of water bird and during the wet season, it can become a home to the likes of fish, aquatic species, frogs, snakes and other wild animals.

Wetlands in Kenya include the currently 6 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Sites). This includes; Tana River Delta Ramsar Site, Lake Nakuru, Lake Naivasha, Lake Elmenteita, Lake Bogoria and  Lake Baringo.

 

Are wetlands indispensable or disposable?

Most of the wetlands may include marshes, shallow lakes, oxbow lakes, floodplains, river meanders and swamps. I am sure these areas sound familiar and some of the areas might be regarded as a nuisance. Some of the wastelands are habitats for pests and threats to public health. However, wetlands are indispensable for the countless benefits or “ecosystem services” that include;

  1. Improvement of water quality through the removal of nutrients, organic matter, and sediment carried by runoff. I hope you do realize that this includes the chemicals in those fertilizers we use….
  2. Increase groundwater availability. Am sure you are wondering how…but wetlands act as a recharge for both ground and surface water.
  3. Prevention of soil erosion.
  4. Wetlands are best for carbon storage. This means it can be used as a natural way to reduce global warming
  5. It provides a natural habitat for natural species
  6. Can also be used as a grazing land

Therefore this shows that wetlands are not disposable and we should deal with the threat to the wetlands such as pollution and Human encroachment or rather human settlement.

 

What is your jurisdiction and responsibility in relation to wetlands?

Sustainable development requires an approach that promotes greater connectivity between ecosystems and societal actions

According to the Kenya Draft National Wetlands Conservation and Management Policy of June 2013, a sound policy with a strong institutional regulatory framework will provide a clear road-map to enhance compliance and enforcement of wetlands conservation and management in line with the Constitution, Vision 2030 and other key policy development instruments ensuring sustainable development of wetlands.

The way I see it is that we all need to use our wetland ecosystems wisely, adhere to the Precaution principle, collaborative and participatory approach. I would love a country where we do not only Think Green but Go Green. A country that abides by its constitution and commitments towards the treaties and laws we have.

There is a lot that can be done but I hope that this short article will spearhead more conversations on our wetlands…

Published by

Wanjiru Kung'u

Wanjiru Kung’u is a lady who is very passionate about Development, Governance and Environmental issues. Writing is her way of reaching out to people on the issues revolving our community. With a little bit of coffee and a mixture of words here and there she gets to write how she feels and what she is passionate about. Writing is what she does best.

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