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Save water catchment areas to mitigate climate change, Mvurya – Kenya News Agency

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Cabinet Secretary for Mining, Blue Economy and Maritime Affairs Salim Mvurya has called for the protection against encroachment of water catchment areas and riparian land in a bid to mitigate the effects that climate change is having on the environment.

Speaking during the world tree planting day event held at Lake Kenyatta in Lamu today, CS Salim Mvurya highlighted the need to curb the encroachment of riparian land, highlighting the effect recent floods have had on people with there being at least 228 people lost due to floods that have affected the country.

“The people who have been most affected by the ongoing floods have been residents who have been very close to water catchment areas,” he stated, adding that the national and county governments need to work closely to curb encroachment of these riparian lands.

He said that apart from the water catchment areas being gazetted, the national government has committed efforts and resources towards planting 15 billion trees to enhance water retention, prevent soil erosion and create microclimates that support agricultural productivity.

“In addition to the immediate ecological advantages, the tree planting exercises seek to enhance the country’s capacity to mitigate the effects that climate change has brought upon different parts of Kenya,” Mvurya added.

His sentiments were echoed by Blue Economy and Fisheries PS Betsy Njagi who stated that there needs to be constant monitoring of the water catchment areas and riparian lands against encroachment.

She said that harmful activities in the catchment area ultimately have an effect on rivers and lakes, and thus affect the livelihoods of people throughout the basin, which can be disrupted.

“When water catchment areas are compromised, fishing is one of the sectors that deteriorate rapidly,” Njagi said.

Lamu Governor Issa Timamy on his part stated that the county government remains committed towards expanding the country’s tree cover with the county accounting for the most mangrove forests at 92,293 acres.

He further voiced the county’s commitment to ensuring that the tree planting initiative is adopted across all schools in the county.

He revealed that at least 56,000 trees have been planted in today’s tree planting exercise noting that the initiative will be adopted across all water catchment areas in the county.

By Amenya Ochieng

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