Friday, December 6, 2019

NEMA Ag DG Mamo B. Mamo representing CS Tobiko during Lake Region Clean Water Conference in Kisumu

The government has stepped up efforts to foster Public-Private Partnerships to boost ongoing environmental conservation efforts, Environment and Forestry Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko, has said.

In an elaborate plan to guarantee the success of ongoing environmental conservation initiatives including increasing our forest cover to at least 10% by planting 2 billion tree seedlings by the year 2022, Tobiko said the government is cultivating closer relations with private sector organisations and community groups.

Already, public-private partnerships have begun to generate positive returns with the private sector contributing more than 10million tree seedlings in various parts of the country for the ongoing national reforestation campaigns. Various corporate organisations, he noted, are also actively involving their workforce in environmental regeneration programmes.

In a speech read on his behalf in Kisumu by the Acting National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) Director General, Mamo Boru Mamo at the ongoing Lake Region Clean Water Conference, sponsored by Kenya Breweries Limited (KBL) Kisumu County Government and the Lake Basin Development Authority, Tobiko said, alongside resource mobilization, public-private partnerships will be further strengthened to ensure strict compliance with environmental management regulations.

“Our engagements with the private sector have been very successful in recent months and we have adopted a leave no-one behind approach to ensure the sustainability of environmental conservation efforts, Tobiko said, adding that, “Environmental Management remains a collective responsibility for both the public private players. We must, as the government, private sector and community members work together to fight illegal logging, stop pollution and restore our environment for our own wellbeing and that of future generations.”

With heightened partnerships, Tobiko further added that state agencies charged with environmental management responsibilities had also stepped up their surveillance to curb environmental pollution across the country.

“It is no longer business as usual as we continue to engage private sector players to ensure strict compliance with environmental regulations,” he said. He added that Industrial concerns discharging effluent and sewerage directly to Lake Victoria among other sensitive environmental ecosystems will face the full wrath of the law.

While delivering a keynote address on the topic: “Environmental conservation as a catalyst for water resource regeneration”, Tobiko, acknowledged that environmental conservation and access to adequate supply of clean water is fundamental for the achievement of “The Big Four” development agenda. “A clean environment and adequate safe drinking water and sanitation do complement efforts towards building thriving communities and boosting economic growth through activities such as agricultural production and manufacturing,” he said.

On her part KBL MD, Jane Karuku said the company would continue supporting initiatives geared at advancing environmental conservation as part of the firm’s corporate social responsibility goals.

“Water is a shared resource with complex interdependencies between competing users such as communities, ecosystems and companies, there’s need for collaboration to ensure sustainable use of the resource,” Ms Karuku said, adding that, “The aim of the conference is to address water crisis, evidenced by increased water scarcity, widespread water pollution, and rapid declines in freshwater biodiversity. It will also address other connected issues related to water, for instance, poverty, nutrition, health, education, gender equality and productivity.”

The conference is expected to highlight environmental management realities which are critical to the success of water and sanitation programmes. It is impossible to discuss water use and management without talking about its source; water towers. They regulate river flow, prevent run-off, mitigates floods, recharge ground-water aquifers, improve soil fertility, reduce soil erosion and sediment loads in river water, and act as carbon reservoirs and sinks.





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