Saturday, May 26, 2018

The “Short Rains” October to December (OND) season constitutes an important rainfall season in Kenya and more so in the Central and Southeastern parts of Kenya. During OND 2017, it is expected that most parts of the country will experience enhanced rainfall that will also be well distributed both in time and space. The expected enhanced rainfall will mainly be driven by the cooler than average SSTs over the eastern Equatorial Indian Ocean (adjacent to Australia) coupled with warmer than
average SSTs over the western Equatorial Indian Ocean (adjacent to the East African coast). This constitutes a positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) that is favorable for good rainfall in the country….Read more or

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Environment PS Charles Sunkuli welcomes to his office Senior Ecosystems Management Specialist from United Nations Green Climate Fund who led a team from Korea and Nairobi for a cortesy call.

Principal Secretary Charles Sunkuli today hosted a delegation from the Green Climate Fund and the National Treasury who paid him a courtesy call in his office.

The team was in the country to discuss areas of strategic engagements, offer support in capacity building and strengthen relationships between agencies in Kenya and the Green Climate Fund secretariat.

The PS expressed satisfaction that this was the right way to go and informed the visiting team that the Ministry’s focus was on solid waste management, plastics ban, protection of wetlands in catchment areas and landscape restoration whose rewards were enormous for citizens.

Environment PS Charles Sunkuli when he chaired a meeting of visiting Green Climate Fund officials at his office. He said the Ministry of Environment was focussed on solid waste management that was a menace across all counties

He reiterated that improper management had caused adverse effects on the environment, massive soil erosion, and drop in food production and that the Ministry had put programmes in place to address the challenges but requires capacity building to upscale the initiatives.

On cooperation with GCF, the head of delegation Patrick Van Laake informed the meeting that the secretariat was reviewing proposals submitted globally with a view to considering them for funding.

The meeting was also attended by Dr. Charles Mutai, Director Climate Change and Dr. Pacifica Ogola, Director, Climate Change Programmes Coordination.

 

 

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4th September, 2017

CS for Environment & Natural Resources Prof. Judi Wakhungu (C) giving her key note address during the conference on Climate,Ecostems and Livelihods for Africa at the UN Environment Headquaters in Nairobi.

Cabinet Secretary, Judi Wakhungu has reiterated that the government will not relent on the ban on plastic bags so as to conserve our land, water, ocean and the broader environment for posterity.

She said this today during a conference on climate, ecosystem and livelihoods for Africa at UNEP headquarters in Gigiri. The conference aimed at promoting South-South Cooperation and Integrated Approaches for Implementation of Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Agreement in Africa.

The CS noted that Africa is particularly vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change with multiple ecological, political, and socioeconomic impacts interacting to increase the region’s susceptibility and constraining its adaptive capacity. This is as a result of high exposure to damaging climate risks such as; extreme droughts, floods and storms; low adaptive capacity; high rates of poverty; financial and technological constraints; and heavy reliance on rain-fed agriculture.

She observed that climate change is a critical issue that has the potential to compromise food security and livelihoods in the region. “The livelihoods of about 70 % of Africans are dependent on rain-fed agriculture, which is characterized by small-scale subsistence farms that are vulnerable to various adverse effects”, she explained.

Kenya is struggling to come to terms with the impacts of two consecutive years of drought, which has left more than 2.6 million people at risk. Widespread crop failure and lack of pasture for pastoralists have affected farming and agro-pastoral communities in the arid and semi-arid parts of the country.

In order to adequately respond to climate change, she said the government has put in place a National Climate Change Response Strategy, a National Climate Change Action Plan, National Adaptation Plan and Climate Change Act, 2016. The Act strengthens climate change governance, institutional arrangements, and mainstreaming of climate change into sectoral planning, budgeting and implementation at all levels of government.

The Act also recognises the climate action plan as a framework to guide the mainstreaming of climate change adaptation and mitigation across the different sectors at the National and County government levels; and hence contribute towards the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Agreement.

To implement global agreements like the 2030 SDGs and Paris Agreement, she observed that there’s need to consider the multi-benefit and integrated approach for the sustainability of the current and future generations.

The Chinese Government and scientists are promoting the Belt & Road initiative globally and promoting diversified, independent, balanced and sustainable development in countries.

The Conference provided an opportunity for Chinese and African scientists to share experiences and lessons leant, propose priorities and build partnerships for further cooperation.

Kenya is implementing several bilateral cooperation programmes with the Chinese Agencies.

A group photo of participants during the Conference on Climate,Ecosystems and Livelihoods for Africa at the UN Environment headquaters Gigiri

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Nairobi        August    31

CS, Prof. Judi Wakhungu, with Kajiado CEC incharge of Lands and Environment, Hon. Ali Letura viewing eco-friendly carrier bags during the exhibition in Ngong.

Environment and Natural Resources Cabinet Secretary Prof. Judi Wakhungu has appealed to Kenyans to change their culture of dumping in an effort to tackle the widespread problem of solid waste management in all counties.

The CS said that in the wake of the recent ban on plastics in the country, her Ministry had teamed up with county governments to improve solid waste management that was a menace in all counties despite being a devolved function.

Prof. Wakhungu was speaking in Ngong town  when she visited an exhibition for the eco-friendly alternative packaging after the plastic bags ban that took effect on August 28, 2017. The exhibition focused on packaging and carrier bags commonly used members of the public for their shopping.

The CS who was accompanied by the kajiado county chief executive committee member for lands and Environment Mr. Ali Letura confirmed that a joint effort to relocate the Ngong dumpsite was bearing fruit after a development partner was identified to finance the new venture of a landfill comprising of a state of the art management of solid waste.

The CS noted that her Ministry in conjunction with the National Environment Authority (NEMA) was currently involved with mopping up the remnants of polythene materials that would be used for recycling.

She appealed to members of the public still holding stocks of the banned carrier bags to surrender them at designated supermarkets of; Tuskys, Nakumatt and Uchumi who will in turn hand them over to NEMA.

Prof. Wakhungu confirmed the country had vast plantations of trees including bamboo that produce pulp, alongside other local materials for eco-friendly alternative packaging.

NEMA director General Prof. Geoffrey Wahungu noted that his Authority was satisfied with the level of innovation to produce alternatives to the banned plastic bags, adding that further sensitization regarding eco-friendly alternatives will be carried in counties.

CS, Prof. Judi Wakhungu at the exhibition stand of the TeamEnvironment Kenya, viewing innovative eco-friendly carrier bags made by members of the group.DSC_0202

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 Reuters… Producing, selling and using plastic bags becomes illegal as officials say they want to target manufacturers and sellers first……read more

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Originally published on August 28, 2017 12:12 pm

No matter where you go in Kenya — from the vast expanses of the Great Rift Valley to the white-sand beaches off the Indian Ocean — one thing is a constant: plastic bags.

They hang off trees and collect along curbs. And in Kibera, a sprawling slum in Nairobi, there are so many of them that they form hills.

But beginning today, almost all plastic bags are illegal in Kenya. Beginning today, if you’re carrying your groceries in a plastic bag or put out your trash in a disposable one, you could be fined up to $38,000 or be sent to jail for up to four years.

“It is a toxin that we must get rid of,” Judi Wakhungu, the country’s Cabinet secretary for the environment, told reporters. “It’s affecting our water. It’s affecting our livestock and, even worse, we are ingesting this as human beings.”

Kenya isn’t the first country in the region to ban plastic bags. Rwanda banned them in 2008, and the East African Community has talked on-and-off about issuing a regional ban.

But that has been difficult and controversial, in large part because of economics. Kenya, for example, has tried to institute a ban several times in the past decade. But the country has continued not only to consume large amounts of plastic, but to produce many of the plastic products for the region. The Kenyan Association of Manufacturers, which challenged the ban in court, said nearly 3 percent of all Kenyans are directly employed by the 176 plastic manufacturers in the country. The ban, they argued, will cost cost Kenya tens of thousands of jobs.

Then there is the issue of convenience. When I visited Kibera in June to report on the proposed ban, residents overwhelmingly opposed it.

I found Julius Moleil selling charcoal in the middle of the slum’s market. The plastic bags, he said, create an economic cycle all their own.

In his case, he said, no one will buy charcoal if there isn’t a clean and cheap way to carry it around. He gives his customers plastic bags, but he also creates a job when he buys those used plastic bags from a man who collects and cleans them.

In a place where many people live off less than $2 a day, he said, those few cents makes a huge difference.

Kenneth Okoth, a member of Parliament who represents Kibera, opposed the ban because he said it would affect his poor constituents the most. In Kibera there is little running water, no toilets or outhouses, but the ban will affect the so-called flying toilets — plastic bags residents use to defecate and urinate in.

“It may look very fashionable in international circles,” he said. “But in reality, in a place like Kibera, we still need those plastics.”

Okoth said he understands and supports the need to clean up the environment. But there are better ways to do that, he said, than a blanket ban on plastics.

“It’s not the plastic’s fault,” he said. “It’s a lack of a system to collect the plastic and reuse it and make a value chain out of it beyond that first usage.”

In Nairobi, supermarkets have started heeding the ban. Many have switched from plastic bags to reusable, cloth sacks, but a quick drive around Nairobi revealed that plastic bags are still in use. So far, there have been no reports of any enforcement actions.

Wakhungu, the environment minister, said the government’s intent is “not to arrest Kenyans.”

“I know they will comply,” she added. “But the law is in place.”

Story  Eyder Peralta  – NEW HAMPSHIRE PUBLIC RADIO OF BBC WORLD SERVICE

 

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