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Kenya Environmental Deforestation and soil erosion in Kenya are attributable to growing population pressure, which creates increased demands for food production and firewood. Drought and desertification (to which 83% of Kenya's land area is vulnerable) also threaten potential productive agricultural lands. By the mid 1980s, Kenya had lost 70% of its original mangrove areas, with the remainder covering an estimated 53,000–62,000 hectares. Water pollution from urban and industrial wastes poses another environmental problem. In addition to pollutants from industry, the nation's cities produce about 1.1 million tons of solid wastes. In an effort to preserve wildlife, the government has set aside more than 3.5 million ha as national parks and game preserves. In 2001, 6% of Kenya's total land area was protected. Game hunting and trade in ivory and skins have been banned, but poaching threatens leopards, cheetahs, lions, elephants, rhinoceroses, and other species. It is illegal to kill an animal even if it attacks. As of 2001, 43 species of mammals and 24 bird species were endangered and 130 plant species were threatened with extinction. Endangered species include the Sokoke scops owl, Taita blue-banded papilio, Tana River mangabey, Tana River red colobus, green sea turtle, and hawksbill turtle. There are 18 extinct species, including the Kenyan rocky river frog and the Kenya oribi. There are over thirty National Parks and Reserves throughout Kenya. These areas are under the management of the Wildlife Service which aims to conserve and manage Kenya's wildlife and its habitat. The National Parks of Lake Turkana were inscribed on the World Heritage list in 1997 and extended in 2001. Mount Kenya National Park/Natural Forest became a World Heritage site in 1997. A number of sites are UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserves: Mount Kenya, Amboseli, Kiunga, Malindi-Watamu, Mount Elgon and Mount Kulal. Wetlands Ramsar Wetlands of International Importance are Lake Baringo, Lake Bogoria, Lake Elmenteita, Lake Naivasha and Lake Nakuru. Biodiversity Kenya's protected areas are home to many birds and other wildlife. There are over one thousand species of birds including migrant waterfowl. Animals found in the reserves are elephants, lions, cheetahs, leopards, giraffes, zebras, crocodiles, rhinoceroses and hippopotamuses. Kenya is a mega - biodiversity nation with both globally and nationally significant biodiversity in the wildlife, forest, fresh water and marine ecosystems. Wildlife plays a significant role in the socio-economic development of the country that it forms the basis for tourism, which is Kenya’s largest foreign exchange earner. Kenya’s wildlife consisting of large variety of mammals, birds, reptiles and broad range of other species is one of the richest and most diversified in the region. Kenya Kenya is world famous for its safari wildlife, and 12.3 percent of its land area is currently under some form of protection. The country has 1,103 species of birds, 261 mammals, 407 reptiles, 76 amphibians, and 6,500 species of plants. An elaborate system of National Parks and Reserves and other sanctuaries has been established to protect and conserve these wildlife resources. However due to unplanned changes in land use and destruction of habitats, there has been gradual loss of habitats and species. Recent surveys indicate significant decrease in wildlife numbers both in and outside protected areas during the last three decades. About 65% of the country’s biodiversity is found outside protected areas. Steep decline in wildlife populations has occurred in rangelands outside protected areas due to rapid changes in land use leading to wildlife habitat loss through essentially land fragmentation for intensive settlement and cultivation of agricultural crops, which in turn fuel human wildlife conflicts. Poaching for commercial trade and for bush – meat are major cause for decline in wildlife populations and challenge for wildlife conservation efforts which consume huge finances. Accordingly wildlife is effectively being out competed in terms of space and isolation and through loss of migratory corridors. Climate challenge is also expected to affect the ecology of wildlife parks and its movements. The frequent drying up of the Rift Valley lakes which are habitats for the world famous flamingo is partly attributed to climate change. Kenya has very little rainforest (mostly montane forest) cover, and these scattered patches are being further degraded for fuelwood and building material. Overall forest loss in Kenya has been moderate over the past generation—5 percent of the country's forest cover was lost between 1990 and 2005. Primary forest cover also fell by 5 percent over the same period and now cover around 700,000 hectares. Deforestation rates have decreased slightly since the end of the 1990s. The most immediate threats to Kenya's forests are subsistence activities and agricultural expansion. In recent years conflicts between forest squatters and police have escalated as the government tries to crack down on deforestation. In 2005, the government evicted 10,000-50,000 families from the edge of the Mau Forest in the Rift Valley as part of its campaign to protect the country's natural resources. Water and Sanitation Kenya has 20.2 cubic kilometers of renewable water resources with 76% used in farming activity and 4% used for industrial purposes. Only about 42% of the residents in rural areas and 88% of city dwellers have pure drinking water. Water availability, quality, supply and its management is one of the major issues. Overview of water concerns 1. Water pollution - from washing, bathing and watering of animals directly in the river 2. Pollution of water from point sources (abattoirs, toilets, market centres etc.) Kenya 3. Inappropriate solid waste disposal in market centres 4. Illegal water abstraction and over-abstraction of water 5. Inefficient irrigation practices 6. Encroachment on and drainage of wetlands/Inappropriate use of agro- chemicals in wetlands 7. Introduction of Eucalyptus species 8. Soil erosion on the farms, footpaths and roadsides 9. Lack of water resource information (water quantity, quality, rainfall, water use, sediment yield) 10. Human and wildlife conflicts 11. Dependence on a single external source of water Current Management Strategy – the Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) plan Kenya has adopted the Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM). This operates in a River Basin/Catchment context where the process promotes the coordinated development and management of water, land and related resources to maximize the resultant economic and social welfare in an equitable manner without compromising the sustainability of vital ecosystems (as defined by Global Water Partnership, 2001). Kenya is chronically water, scarce: The combined surface and ground water potential is estimated at 20,619 million cubic metres a year. From this water resource potential and due to a rapid population growth over the last 30 years, our water per capita decreased from 1,853 cubic metres in 1969 to 704 cubic metres in 2000, to the current estimate of 647 cubic metres thus going below the global benchmark of 1,000 cubic metres per person a year. Globally, a country is categorized as ‘water stressed’ if its annual renewable freshwater supplies are between 1,000 and 1,700 cubic metres per capita, and ‘water scarce’ if its renewable freshwater supplies are less than 1,000 cubic metres per capita (UNEP 2002). Water Conflict: The most noticeable breakdown of water resources in Kenya can be seen from conflict in and between communities over water resources or where water resource availability has threatened basic livelihoods. Conflict prone areas include the upper Ewaso Ngiro North River Basin, West Mt. Kenya, Narumoru River, Molo River, Njoro River and parts of Machakos, Kitui and Makueni districts. Limited Catchment Areas Advisory Committees (CACCs): Whereas the Water Act, 2002 establishes a very elaborate and clear management structure (comprising of numerous institutions) for water supply, the oversight of the water catchment areas (or water resource in general) is left to the Catchment Areas Advisory Committees (CAACs) which have no direct authority over the WRMA regional managers who oversee the allocation and use of water. In other words, the WRMA regional managers are not obliged to take the advice and views of the CAACs. Kenya Poor oversight of water rights: In the past each water right application was considered individually rather than based on an overall allocation plan. This has created a situation where there is very little information on abstraction on a catchment basis. Currently, three types of illegal abstraction behaviour are observed; (1) those that are authorized but have no permit and abstract in accordance with the quantities specified in the authorization (2) those that have authorization or a permit but abstract without regard to the limits allowed and (3) those with no application, authorization or permit. Confusing permits: The existing water permits were granted under the old Water Act Cap 372, and some still have several years of life remaining. Yet the terms and conditions under which some of them were granted are in conflict with the Water Act 2002. The new user fees, regulations and rules developed by WRMA under provisions of Water Act 2002 have not been gazetted and the Water Act Cap 372 is still being applied. Once the new rules and regulations are gazetted by the Minister, then the provisions of Water Act 372 will be repealed. This is an area of conflict which can delay progress of the reform agenda. Poor water pollution control: Recently, National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) established waste and effluent discharge charges to river bodies. However, the effluent discharge standards are not specified and the fees are different to those of the WRMA. Additionally, there is non-point source pollution from poor land-husbandry, sanitation, and liquid and solid waste-disposal practices. For example, studies carried out on pollution in Nairobi River found that sewage, nutrients, toxic metals, human waste, solid waste dumping, industrial and agricultural chemicals are main pollutants, and that due to poor enforcement, the river may not support aquatic life (UNEP Pollution Assessment Report 2000). Political, economic, social and environmental issues are all facets that need attention if the Nairobi River Basin is to be managed in a sustainable manner and Nairobi Dam revived. Natural Resources The most immediate threats to Kenya's forests are subsistence activities and agricultural expansion. In recent years conflicts between forest squatters and police have escalated as the government tries to crack down on deforestation. In 2005, the government evicted 10,000-50,000 families from the edge of the Mau Forest in the Rift Valley as part of its campaign to protect the country's natural resources. Oil exploration Early in 2006 Chinese President Hu Jintao signed an oil exploration contract with Kenya; the latest in a series of deals designed to keep Africa's natural resources flowing to China's booming economy. The deal allowed for China's state-controlled offshore oil and gas company, CNOOC Ltd., to prospect for oil in Kenya, which is just beginning to drill its first exploratory wells on the borders of Sudan and Somalia and in coastal waters. No oil has been produced yet, and there has been no formal estimate of the possible reserves.
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