Wamalwa Announces Week-long Kenya Rivers Awareness
Our rivers are worth trillions of shillings in God-given investment and will play a pivotal role in higher food production when they are better cared for, our natural water towers protected and rational utilization of the resource enhanced
Water and Irrigation Cabinet secretary Eugene Wamalwa, has announced a week-long Kenya Rivers awareness activities to signify appreciation of rivers, many of which face threats from land grabbers, environmental degradation and Global warming vagaries.
Marking the World Rivers Day celebrated on the last Sunday of September, Wamalwa revealed that his ministry will soon embark on a major rehabilitation and restoration of Nairobi River Basin.
“We invite the participation of residents’ organisations, international agencies and governments to pull through this giant project. The project will benefit millions of citizens within the basin,” added Wamalwa.
The following is the minister’s message. Today we are marking the World Rivers Day as a celebration of the world’s waterways. Rivers are the arteries of our planet; they are lifelines in the truest sense.
I call upon Kenyans to mark the event with week-long activities to signify appreciation of our valuable rivers, many of which face threats from land grabbers, environmental degradation and Global warming vagaries.
The events will highlight the many values of our rivers to increase public awareness and encourage improved stewardship of rivers around the country. Rivers in virtually every county face an array of threats, and only through our active involvement can we ensure their health in the years ahead.
To address this I am today endorsing an inaugural Kenya Rivers Day event that will take place on the last Friday in September every year beginning coming Friday. This is in appreciation that our rivers provide us with billions of shillings worth of economic inputs in agricultural, industrial and livelihood value chains.
Despite the abundance of rivers in many counties, they are taken for granted. We can no longer continue taking our rivers for granted. We must appreciate the fact that rivers play a major role in feeding our populations with irrigation schemes and providing us with energy from hydro-electric projects to light our homes, offices and power industries.
We must therefore, treat our rivers with greater sensitivity and appreciation than we have done before. We must all be custodians of our rivers and protect them from chemical poisoning and industrial pollution.
To inaugurate the Kenya Rivers Day, we have organized a cleanup on the Nairobi River, a major reminder to our capital city populations of this natural gift of nature. My Ministry appreciates the great job NEMA has embarked on to give Nairobi River a new lease of life and I call on all city residents to give their full cooperation to these efforts. NEMA will undertake similar cleanups in all other rivers being choked by industrial and domestic pollution around the country.
We have finalized a master plan for rehabilitation and restoration of Nairobi River Basin. We invite the participation of residents’ organisations, international agencies and governments to pull through this giant project. The project will benefit millions of citizens within the basin.
The Nairobi River Basin comprises three main rivers namely; Ngong, Nairobi and Mathare. The rivers join east of Nairobi and meet River Athi, eventually flowing into the Tana River that flows into the Indian Ocean. Other tributaries of Nairobi River Basin include; Kamiti river (Gathara-ini), Rui Ruaka, Karura Ruiru and Kirichwa. The rivers are mostly narrow and highly polluted.
Nairobi River clean up: Gigantic task ahead
Kenya’s population has been growing rapidly and therefore the country faces an uphill task of securing an adequate food supply. This calls for increasing the agricultural production capacity to match the population growth.
In addition Kenya is a signatory to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which are internationally agreed targets for tracking developmental progress in member countries. MDG goal number one aims at eradicating extreme poverty and hunger.
Therefore, if Kenya is to achieve this goal, a lot of effort and investments need to be ploughed into the agricultural sector in order to move the country from a food-deficit nation to a food-surplus Nation and that farming is done not as a subsistence or small-scale but on large scale and commercialised.
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Our rivers are worth trillions of shillings in God-given investment and will play a pivotal role in higher food production when they are better cared for, our natural water towers protected and rational utilization of the resource enhanced.
Agricultural production will be enhanced and boosted through improvement in the water management systems and of particular importance irrigation farming. Irrigation agriculture is not only the most fruitful type of farming devised by man, but also the most costly. We have to balance the two to harvest maximum benefits as a country.
Happy World Rivers Day”.