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Lobby raises alarm over invasion of riparian land

Friday, February 2nd, 2024 00:01 | By
Lobby raises alarm over invasion of riparian land
Lake Naivasha. PHOTO/Screengrab

As Kenya joins the global World Wetland Day celebrations today, environmentalists have called for an immediate halt to riparian land encroachment near Lake Naivasha.

Speaking in Naivasha during a lake tour with journalists, Silas Wanjala, General Manager of the Lake Naivasha Riparian Association said that continued encroachment on the lake is depriving the country of its valuable resources.

“Riparian land serves as a vital buffer zone because of its proximity to the lake. It plays a crucial role in maintaining ecosystem health and providing various environmental benefits. Encroachment on riparian lands will have adverse effects on water quality, biodiversity and the overall health of aquatic ecosystems,” says Wanjala.

According to him, encroachment of these lands has had a ripple effect because apart from the lake losing various fish species, including commercially important ones such as tilapia, cases of human-wildlife conflict have also increased as well and pollution of the lake has gone up.

Approvals

The reason why human-wildlife conflict has gone up is because the riparian land that used to be their grazing land is now being utilised and they have nowhere to graze.

During our tour, what was evident was that most of the riparian land has either been fenced or permanent structures have been erected.

“We have tried to engage the relevant agencies at the local level to ensure these developments are halted but nothing has been done. All those who are developing along the riparian land are still getting the required approvals so developments have been coming up despite our efforts,” adds Wanjala.

According to Grace Nyambura, the chairperson of the Lake Naivasha Patrol team, encroachment has taken a toll on the lake, causing a significant decline in the tilapia fish population. Presently, obtaining tilapia fish from this lake has become nearly impossible.

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