Our water towers are our lifeline and our heritage and its incumbent upon all of us to jealously protect it against degradation, the Marsabit County Director of NEMA, Mathew Mamo Boru has said.
Mr. Boru who was speaking during World wildlife day/African Environmental Day (Tuesday) said, unless collective and deliberate efforts aimed at conserving the three county water towers, namely, Mt. Marsabit forest, Mt. Kulal and Hurri Hills are undertaken “then it stands to reason that our lives are in great peril”.
The NEMA director revealed that in 1973,Mt. Marsabit forest cover stood at 18,000 hectares and had currently reduced to 11,000 hectares, and this massive rate of degradation would according to UNEP’s projection mean that there would be no Mt. Marsabit forest to talk about in the next six decades if action fail to be taken.
He added that the then Hurri Hills forest which used to boast about 30,000 hectares of forest cover, is today a pale shadow of it’s former self with no forest cover at all.
“Save for few Eucalyptus trees that were planted by the early missionaries, Hurri Hills today has no forest cover to write home about it. It has unfortunately been reduced to a mere patchwork of grass land,” he lamented.
The director expressed fear that unless measures are urgently put in plcae, Mt. Marsabit Forest would go the Hurri Hills way since every single day approximately 300 women make their way into the forest and carry out fire wood harvesting hence damaging forest cover.
The NEMA boss added that women go for specific type of tree namely the Ollea Africana (Ejars in local language) where roughly 1000 tonnes are harvested every month, equivalent to 100 tracks. He said Ollea Africana provides mist trapping mechanism which sustains the forest cover.
Encroachment by livestock and drilling of boreholes in the forest by NGOs has contributed to depletion of ecosystem.
While advising County resident to own the responsibility of conserving wildlife and environment, the NEMA director, said “Our water towers are our lifeline, our God-given resources whose conservation and management rest on the broad shoulders of every one of us. They are our priceless heritage we ought to protect for our survival and for the survival of the generations yet unborn” he concluded.
Acting senior warden KWS, Mr Paul Wambi who spoke during the ceremony said the day marks a milestone in the history of wildlife conservation in the entire world as lovers of nature congregate in various parts across the globe to reflect wildlife conservation efforts.
Wambi said, the day is a moment of reflection on how well or badly they have done in conserving the precious wildlife and nature in general, and he called upon on every member of the community to take a moment and reflect on how best they show care and compassion to protect wildlife and their habitat.
The KWS senior officer who acclaimed the work of the four conservancies (Melal, Songa, Jaldesa and Shura) where he said about 70% of wildlife stay outside protected area, and due to noble duties of the established four conservancies, they have seen sigh of relief in protecting wildlife and their environment.
He urged every community that lives in Marsabit County to continue supporting conservation efforts in the Marsabit ecosystem to stop wildlife and environmental crimes which have wide ranging economic, environmental and social impacts.
By the department of communication, Marsabit County